The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) is advising pipe band members to acquaint themselves with the COVID-19 guidance of their respective governments ahead of a much anticipated return to pipe band practices. The guidance is of particular relevance to bands in the four constituent countries of the UK.
Bands in Scotland expect to be able to resume practices from this weekend.
A spokesman for the Association said: “The social distancing across Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland is broadly consistent, each specifying advice on the social distancing requirements that need to be followed.
“The key differences are road map specific the dates when indoor and outdoor activity can resume, and the numbers of people allowed to gather. These details are sign posted on the respective government websites:
- Scotland (gov.scot) – Protection Levels what you can do.
- England (gov.uk) – What you can and cannot do.
- Wales (gov.wales) – Alert Level 2.
- Northern Ireland (indirect.gov.uk) – What the restrictions mean for you.
“The advice these sites provide is to help minimise the overall risk of transmission when playing.”
There is a need to implement steps to reduce the risk of transmission, including limiting the number of people participating and increasing ventilation. The cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means the more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission.
When considering how practices can resume there is a need to ensure that:
- No one is participating if suffering with symptoms of COVID-19 or when advised to self-isolate.
- That the Social Distancing Rule (currently 2m) is observed.
- Outdoors is used wherever possible.
- The duration of practice is limited, as far as possible.
- Participants wear a face covering. If this is not practical, for example, when playing some instruments, Use back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
- the best use of the practice venue is considered, compliant with its risk assessment, having regard to:
- the size of the space.
- The ventilation within the space
- the positioning of musicians within the space, observing physical distancing
- the effectiveness of any rooms, booths, barriers or screens in use
The Association has also produced a handy framework for bands in Scotland to implement once the Scottish Government confirms indoor practices can resume.