COVID-19 restrictions related to congregational singing: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

In relation to "Singing, chanting and the playing of instruments" it is stated that "Scientific studies indicate that it is the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events that involve singing and the playing of wind and brass instruments, that is likely to create risk"

Can you tell me specifically what studies this refers to and who was involved in interpreting these studies with regards to creating these restrictions in relation to congregational singing?"


Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

These documents from the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), set out the evidence base and consider the real life implications of both professional and non-professional singing in the context of performing arts. These help inform our understanding of the risks of singing and the playing of wind instruments and how best these can be mitigated. The SAGE 51 Minutes provide details of those who took part in this meeting and agreed for SAGE to endorse the above Aerosol and Droplet Generation from Singing and Wind Instruments and Performance Activities document.

You can find the information you are looking for on the UK Government’s webpages which provides a list meeting notes and published papers: SAGE meetings, August 2020 - GOV.UK (

The Scottish Government has worked closely with faith communities to produce its guidance for the safe reopening of places of worship and has sought to align this with other relevant sector guidance including the performing arts and venues sector guidance (which covers both professional and nonprofessional singing). Scottish Ministers have collective responsibility for the production and publication of all Scottish Government guidance.

We recognise that scientific advice is rapidly evolving in this area and consequently we are keeping the safe use of places of worship guidance under constant review, and are endeavouring to ensure it remains as closely aligned as possible with the relevant sector guidance, such as that covering the performing arts and venues as well as live events.

Our guidance is regularly reviewed as per clinical advice, guided by the principles set out in our Framework for Decision Making, which have always sought to reduce broader health, economic and societal harm alongside reducing specifically the transmission of Covid-19. Scottish Ministers must also review the need for restrictions and requirements imposed by the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 at least once every 21 days.


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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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