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UPDATED GUIDANCE: Re-opening 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. 

Halls and Full Lockdown

Update: 8th January

Halls should be closed unless they are hosting permitted activities.  It is important you inform your insurer whether you remain open for permitted activities or are closed.  There are differences between the first lockdown and this one, including:

  • All outdoor sports courts and pitches and outdoor gyms have to close. 
  • Supervised out of school activities for children can only serve children entitled to attend school i.e., vulnerable children and children of critical workers. The list of critical workers is wider than that of the Spring 2020 lockdown and now includes, for example, teachers.
  • The sale of alcohol through click and collect, or takeaway services is banned.

Permitted activities are:

  • Early years provision and childcare, e.g., Pre-schools and Nurseries
  • Education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure, and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision - for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
  • Supervised out of school childcare activities for those children eligible to attend school (i.e., children of critical workers and vulnerable children).
  • Hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • Providing medical services, dental treatment (including COVID-19 vaccinations) and veterinary services.
  • For elite sports persons to train and compete, and professional dancers and choreographers to work, for disabled sport.
  • For training and rehearsal without an audience (as a concert hall)
  • For the purposes of film and TV filming
  • Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised by a business, charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend.
  • People are allowed to leave home for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, where it is unreasonable to do so from home. This includes hall maintenance, meter readings etc.
  • Distribution centres operated by businesses are permitted to remain open and halls may therefore be used for e.g., packing by local companies.
  • Wedding ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances, attended by no more than 6 people.
  • Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance.
  • Voting in an election or referendum
  • Essential retail such as Community Shops providing food, newspapers etc., post offices, pharmacies, nurseries, and garden centres.
  • Community cafes and community shops may provide take-away food and nonalcoholic drink.
  • Market stalls selling essential retail only.
  • Outdoor playgrounds, gardens, recreation fields, allotments.
  • Public toilets
  • For providing a place of worship.

Halls for use as Covid-19 Vaccination Sites - Updated: 14th January 2021

The NHS would like to thank everyone who has offered sites for the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The NHS has now identified all sites they need and are not looking for any additional venues.

By the end of this week there will be 21 GP-led sites vaccinating people across Norfolk and Waveney, vaccinations are taking place at our three hospitals and there are teams going out to care homes and housebound residents. Further vaccination centres will be opening in the coming weeks and months as the rollout of the vaccination programme continues.  More information about the vaccination programme can be found by clicking here

Financial Support for Halls

For premises and businesses which are legally required to close and cannot operate effectively remotely, there will be a one-off top up grant as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.

As with the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) Grant of Spring 2020 this should be automatic for eligible premises, i.e., those with a rateable value of their own which are required to close (as far as we are aware exempt uses such as pre-schools, food banks should not affect eligibility).

Nb: Halls that do not pay rates because it is discounted due to their charitable status still have a rateable value and should be eligible for this grant.  Please let us know if you experience any problems accessing this. 

In addition, a discretionary fund is being made available to support other impacted businesses. This should be available to faith premises such as church halls, which do not have a rateable value, and in the event that a local authority determines a hall is not eligible for the above grant.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Closed)) supports businesses required to close because of temporary local measures. The LRSG (Closed) (Addendum) supports businesses that were required to close due to national lockdown between 5 th November and 2nd December. Government guidance reflects the fact that all businesses required to close when Tier 4 restrictions were applied are eligible for grants of up to £1,500 for each 14-day period of closure; these grants are being administered by local authorities and the above new financial package is in addition to these.  To check if you're eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses) please click here.

All Halls that are hosting permitted activities should:

  • Make sure they are following Covid-Secure guidelines (see the Information Sheet and Appendix D below for more details).
  • Promote social distancing in all activities. 
  • Promote the use of face masks on the premises (Except in cases of exemption).  Some activities may be impaired by use of face masks, for example, exercise, and it is okay for participants to remove their masks to take part in these activities.  However, they should be wearing a face mask at all other times in the Hall. 
  • Carry out and review a risk assessment (Appendix F, below, provides a template.)
  • Request hirers to carry out a risk assessment for their activity. (Appendix G, below, provides a template.) 

ACRE Guidance 

Update: 18th December

ACRE have published advice to Village Hall Committees in response to the introduction of Tier 4, and it's possible impact should Norfolk be moved into it.  You can read this guidance by clicking here.

The following revisions have been made: 

  • Opening your Hall Information Sheet - Changes have been made to take account of the “tier” regulations. They affect Sections 2 and 4. 
  • Appendix C - Point 6 has been revised to reflect changing self-isolation guidance, now ten days.
  • Appendix D - Revised to reflect the 3-tier system.
  • Appendix J - Revised to reflect the 3-tier system.
  • Appendix K - Revised to reflect the 3-tier system.

We know that many Halls and Community Buildings are concerned about re-opening safely, what this means to hirers and practical considerations.  There are lots of things to consider, as Halls are often the heart of their community as a host for many positive activities.  ACRE have worked with government to produce the following guidance to help Halls with their planning:

We are sharing this beyond our members in response to the challenges we are all facing because of the pandemic.  If you found this useful, and you would like to find out about our membership, please email office@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk