Calverley Community Choir leader angry after being forced to rehearse outside due to Covid rules update
A community choir leader has been left angered - after their planned indoor rehearsals had to be cancelled due to a last minute update to Covid restrictions.
Jenny Leigh 35, is the leader of Calverley Community Choir, who were hoping to be able to rehearse indoors following the latest change of lockdown restrictions.
However, the group have now been left rehearsing outside after new guidance was issued on May 18.
The guidance - which came a day after hospitality restrictions were lifted further - states that up to six people who are in amateur choirs, bands or are musicians can perform together indoors - while outdoors, they may perform in groups of up to 30.
The six person limit is much smaller than the Calverley group and came just hours before a planned rehearsal.
Jenny was expecting the group to be able to resume their rehearsals this week but was left in despair following the latest guidance.
Speaking to the YEP, she said: "Guidance allows people who make money from performances to sing together, inside, but doesn't allow amateur groups.
"It appears that it is safe to sing but only where your singing stimulates the economy.
"Guidance also allows primarily male dominated sports to go ahead inside where including sports where distancing is not achievable such as football.
"It is discriminatory, if not sexist.
"20,000 people were allowed to sing at the fa cup final and singing is a life line for those who are isolated in our communities.
"It is critical that we open up society for all including the isolated."
Jenny said singing is hugely beneficial for the mental health of her group "in a time of real crisis".
She added: "[The guidance] was announced late on the 18th when many choirs had already made plans in line with the government road map information.
"We were also banned from outside singing whilst football teams, cricket clubs and bootcamps could go ahead.
"We can now go ahead with outside singing but should have been allowed to weeks ago.
"Outside singing is not practical.
"We need a power source or equipment and our noise level from that equipment could disturb neighbours.
"We also get significant loss of sound meaning the choir cannot effectively learn.
"Lastly, it is cold and uncomfortable for our elderly and disabled members."
Other choirs across the country have also voiced their dismay.
Bath Bach Choir tweeted: "Absolutely gutted our responsibly planned and risk-assessed return to live rehearsing this eve scuppered by @DCMS utter failure to update performing arts guidance despite months of notice.
"We can sing at a football match, wedding or restaurant but not spaced out in a huge church."