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Updated guidance: COVID ‘Road Map’ advice relating to village halls and community buildings

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This is part of our Covid-19 guidance. To view the main guidance page please click here. This page is being regularly updated however the situation continues to change and in all cases please defer to official government guidance.

ACRE has issued new information to help village and community halls get to grips with the latest announcements about the lifting of national lockdown restrictions.  Contrary to the government’s announcement on 22nd February, village halls will not be able to reopen after Easter, except for a small number of permitted activities. Community buildings will instead have to wait until 17th May before they can be hired out for many functions including exercise classes, coffee mornings, performances and celebrations such as weddings and birthday parties. 

ACRE’s updates are aimed at clarifying the evolving situation for the army of volunteers who manage England’s village halls. It’s important to remember that the ‘road map’ is subject to review at every stage, but the guidance points below allow time to prepare for fully resuming activities in the summer. 

Provisos to be aware of 

  • Some outdoor activities on playing fields can commence earlier 
  • The 4 steps in the road map have a minimum of five weeks between each step 
  • All dates are described as ‘no earlier than’ with the government confirming or revising a week beforehand 
  • Timescales and dates are subject to the vaccination programme continuing to go to plan, and the prevention of the spread of new variants  

 

Preparing to re-open 

A  comprehensive checklist is contained in ACRE’s Information Sheet here.   A key point is to make sure that the building’s Fire Safety Risk Assessment is up to date, especially if renovations or alterations have taken place in the interim. And good hygiene practices will need to be in place until at least 21st June – and possibly re-applied next winter. 

 

The 4 Steps 

 

Step 1 :    8th March and 29th March 

 
From 8th March  
  • Two people will be able to meet in outdoor public spaces  
  • Up to 30 can attend funerals, maximum 6 at wakes and weddings 
 
From 29th March 
  • Outdoor gatherings of maximum 6 people or 2 households allowed – the ‘Rule of 6’. 
  • Outdoor sports facilities can re-open – such as tennis, bowls, basketball courts 
  • Outdoors, organised activities for children – cubs, brownies and so on - allowed 
  • Outdoors parent and child groups with max 15 attending (plus under-5s) allowed 
  • Out-of-school children’s settings can accept all children 

Note emphasis on the word ‘outdoors’! 

 

Step 2  :   12th April 

  • No classes, clubs, WI meetings, parish council meetings yet permitted 
  • Food and alcohol only served outdoors or at takeaways. No meal required 
  • Indoor gyms can re-open – but not exercise classes 
  • Funerals with up to 30 attendees allowed; wakes and weddings up to 15 guests 
  • Indoor children’s activities allowed – dance, music classes, cubs, brownies 
  • parent & child groups indoors, up to 15 attending (not including under-5s) 
  • Non-essential retail can re-open. This includes charity shops
  • Organised outdoor gatherings and events org, under Covid-secure conditions, subject to the Rule of 6 

Note: social contact rules still apply everywhere – no indoor mixing allowed between different households. And indoor events that bring people together must not happen until Step 3 with the exceptions of those listed above. 

 

Step 3  :  17th May 

  • Controlled events can take place up to 50% capacity 
  • Hospitality – community cafes, coffee mornings, social clubs – can operate subject to the ‘Rule of 6’ 
  • Film shows, plays, concerts can happen, subject to social distancing 
  • Indoor sports allowed 
  • Weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes – up to 30 people 
  • ‘Rule of 6’ abolished for outdoor gatherings – now max 30 people 

 

Step 4   :  21st June  

  • Social contact limits removed 
  • Outdoor events limit of 30 people removed 
  • Limits on numbers at weddings and funerals removed  

 

Useful information regarding Annual Parish Meetings 

Annual parish Meetings are required to be held between 1st Match and 30th June. Potential delay in Step 3 suggests it might be prudent to arrange the meeting for June rather than earlier, and allow for people to join via Zoom too. 

You can read ACRE’s advice document in full here.    

Finally, as always, if you need further advice or clarification, don’t hesitate to contact our Community Development Officers on 01362 698216 or [email protected]