New guidance on carol singing, nativity plays and Santa’s grottos has been issued by the government ahead of Christmas.
While some the festive traditions will still be allowed to go ahead this year, strict rules will mean activities will be a little different, and must only take place within the regulations.
What are the rules for carol singing?
Door-to-door carol singing will be allowed this Christmas, but must only take place in groups of up to six people and from at least a two metre distance from the door of households.
Indoor singing will also be permitted, once England’s national lockdown is lifted on 2 December, but only by choirs. Audiences or congregations must not join in any activity that can increase the risk of spread, including singing, shouting and chanting.
Those performing or rehearsing in a professional capacity, or as part of a supervised activity for under 18s, are not limited in number and do not have to follow rules on gathering limits.
For adult amateur performances and rehearsals, those taking part should follow the government’s performing arts guidance and will be subject to local gathering limits. This means that if more than one group of six (in Tier 1) or household (in Tier 2 or Tier 3) is performing or rehearsing indoors, they must not interact, ‘mingle’ or socialise together.
Participants are expected to follow social distancing rules and stay at least two metres apart from anyone who is not in the same household, and keep the same distance away from the door of the property outside which they are singing.
What about nativity plays?
School nativity plays will be allowed to take place “within existing school bubbles,” meaning pupils cannot mix across different groups.
Parents and carers will only be allowed to attend in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas, while those who live in a Tier 3 area are advised to use live streaming, or record the performances.
Are Santa’s grottos and Christmas markets allowed?
Santa’s grottos will be allowed to open in Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas, provided they are in venues which are permitted to open.
Guidance states that venues must put appropriate Covid-secure measures in place, including room for visitors to observe social distancing.
As for other festive events like Christmas markets, the government advises that people check the rules according to which tier they are in, as restrictions may be different for indoor and open air shops, such as Christmas markets or Christmas tree markets.
The rules on attending Christmas lights ceremonies will also be dependent on which tier your local area is in.
To check the rules in your local area, simply enter your postcode online.