Coronavirus: Organs can now be played again, says Church in Wales

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st david's cathedralImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Churches had been advised against playing organs like the one in Pembrokeshire's St David's Cathedral

Advice against organists playing their instruments in church because they could spread coronavirus has been changed, says the Church in Wales.

The Welsh Government had said their use should be "specifically avoided, along with singing, chanting and shouting".

But the Church in Wales said it had now received new guidance on the matter.

It said: "The decision to use an organ 'should be based on a risk assessment and adherence with social distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning guidance'.

Senedd member Darren Millar last week claimed congregations and organists were "up in arms" about the situation, which a church minister told him about.

The Clwyd West Conservative said the situation was "bizarre".

"This matter was brought to my attention by a minister in my constituency, who is completely perplexed by the ban, and told me that church members and organists are up in arms," Mr Millar said last week.

The Welsh Government previously said: "Singing, chanting, shouting and/or playing of wind instruments and organs that require air to be pushed through the mechanism should be specifically avoided.

"This is because there is a possible additional risk of infection in environments where individuals are singing or chanting as a group, and this applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.

"It is advised that you use alternative instruments such as a piano, electronic instruments or recordings."

The Welsh Government has been asked to comment.

However, updated guidance published on the government's website now reads: "The decision whether to use an organ which requires air to be pushed through the mechanism during a ceremony should be based on a risk assessment and adherence with social distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning guidance.

"The use of alternative instruments such as an electronic keyboard or recorded music should be considered."

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