SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Tabernacle Choir has resumed rehearsals after a 19-month-long hiatus.

The rehearsals return with a “Multi-Layer COVID Protection Plan” to ensure the safety of all staff and choir members.

Officials are requiring all performers to provide evidence of vaccination against COVID-19. All members will tested prior to rehearsal and safety protocols such as social distancing and mandatory face coverings will be enforced.

Officials say those who are not vaccinated or may be immunocompromised can be granted special leave until conditions improve.

To ensure proper distancing, only half of the choir will perform at one time, with sessions split between Saturdays and Sundays. Rehearsals will also take place inside the Conference Center for better ventilation.

Choir officials believe the new safety measures are imperative due to the “inherent challenges posed by singing and playing wind instruments in the spread of the virus.”

The new health plan was spearheaded by Michael O. Leavitt, new choir president and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“President Leavitt took over the responsibility just weeks ago on August 26,” officials say. “He immediately set to work with a team of healthcare experts led by Choir medical director, Dr. David Palmer, and executional assistance from choir professional staff to develop the COVID plan, in consultation with Bishop Gerald Caussé and the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Rehearsals and performances will be extended to the Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells at Temple Square, and live broadcasts of Music & the Spoken Word if the results from this new health protocol are successful.

Opening rehearsals and performances to the public may proceed later in the fall if the new health plan is successful.

The health plan’s progress will be continually monitored and rehearsals will be postponed once again if there’s any indication of a rise in infection rates.