3 March 2021

ACRE has now published it’s latest Information Sheet Update on the Govt Roadmap out of Lockdown.  Here are the main points that affect most Community Buildings. To get the full ACRE Information Sheet Click Here

It is confirmed that Village Halls and Community Buildings can only open on 12 April for those activities already permitted under lockdown plus a small list of further activities, given below. They are otherwise closed until 17th May. This information is up to date on 1st March 2021.

Some outdoor activities on playing fields can commence earlier. The process of unlocking will apply in four steps across England, without reverting to Tiers, with a minimum five weeks between each step.

You should advise your Hirers to check with their National Governing bodies for guidance on specific activities; links to many of these are still available on this page below.

Step One : 8th March and 29th March

From 8 March
• All schools will open, so schools can use village halls.
• Up to 30 can attend Funerals, up to 6, Wakes and Weddings.

From 29 March
• Most outdoor sports facilities and activities can return. Check with the appropriate Regulating Bodies for details on what is permitted. Many of these are listed on this page further down.
• Out of school children’s settings will be able to accept all children.

Step Two: 12th April
Only the activities shown here are permitted. Other activities (eg art classes, clubs, WIs, craft groups, Parish Council meetings) will not yet be permitted.

  • Food and alcohol can be served to those seated in outdoor settings, or as takeaways, alcohol served without the need for a meal. • Indoor gyms can re-open, but not exercise classes.

  • Funerals can take place with up to 30 people; wakes and weddings will be allowed up to 15 guests. (Restaurants and hotels will not yet be open).

  • All indoor children’s activities can open, including dance classes, musical activities, cubs, scouts, brownies.

  • Parent and child groups can open indoors, eg parent and toddlers, with up to 15 attending plus under-fives.

  • Non-essential retail can re-open eg hairdressers, charity shops.

  • Outdoor gatherings or events organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be held under Covid-19 secure conditions, enabling a village fete or spectators at a sports match, subject to the rule of 6. Guidance will be issued.

The social contact rules will continue to apply in all settings – meaning social distancing must be maintained, no indoor mixing allowed between different households.

Government guidance issued on 25th February on re-opening businesses and venues in England says:

“indoor events that bring people together – even if they do not mix with other households – must not run until Step 3 unless there an explicit exemption eg support groups, supervised activities for children, communal worship, or a wedding, reception or commemorative event like a wake.”

Step Three: 17 May

Halls can start to open subject to the following:

  • Controlled indoor events can take place with up to 50% capacity.

  • Hospitality settings will be able to open in accordance with the “rule of 6”, so community cafes, coffee mornings and social clubs can take place.

  • Film shows, plays, concerts and sports matches can take place, subject to social distancing.

  • Indoor sports activities, including exercise classes, table tennis, badminton can take place.

  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes. Christenings and bar mitzvahs will be allowed.

  • Organised outdoor entertainment can take place.

  • The “rule of six” will be abolished for outdoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people.

The “rule of 6” will apply to indoor events. Guidance on social contact between friends and family will be reviewed. While so-called “vaccine passports” are under consideration for allowing certain indoor venues to re-open safely at this step that would hopefully be confined to larger venues, not village and community halls.

Step Four: 21st June
• All legal limits on social contact are removed. Outdoor events with more than 30
people can take place e.g., fetes.
• Dancing is permitted.
• Restrictions on numbers at weddings and funerals are abolished.

Preparing for re-opening

A checklist of points to consider is given in Appendix A of the ACRE Information Sheet, opening your village hall. A key point to remember is the need to make sure the hall’s Fire Safety Risk Assessment is up to date, particularly if use of the hall has changed significantly or building alterations have been carried out while the hall was closed.

Financial support packages

The Government guidance for local authority funding for businesses required to close under the current lockdown has been revised Click Here

The deadline for the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (£4,000, £6,000 or £9,000 depending on rateable value) is 31st March 2021. The Local Restrictions Support Grant is being extended initially to 31st March i.e., the end of the current financial year, with a claim deadline of 31st May 2021. The Additional Support Grant remains available, for support to businesses/organisations which do not appear on the rating list.

There is a list of Herts’ Local Authorities Business Support pages below.

For the latest Govt Roadmap Out Of Lockdown Click Here

For the most recent (5 January) update on The Safe Use of Multipurpose Community Facilities Click Here



If you are providing office workspace in your Hall Click Here



Enabling safe and effective volunteering during COVID-19

This guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic

Click Here



For Uniformed Youth Groups the following applies:

Click Here for Girlguiding

Click Here Scouts

Click Here for the National Youth Agency



The Local Restrictions Support Grant LRSG and Additional Restrictions Support Grant ARG have been made available to help businesses currently affected by restrictions. Click below for your local authority information some of which are still in a process of being updated.

Click Here for the GOV.UK Guidance to check if your business is eligible


The following link provides some handy posters which summarise the general position for each area Click Here



Click here for further updates from EMDUK about Group Exercise and current restrictions



Here is some further information and useful links which you may find useful in clarifying responsibilities.

These are some sites which may help with the Ventilation versus Heating problem:

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here



Click Here for the latest Public Health England guidance for the Hands, Face, Space message. Really useful resources for you to promote and reinforce safe and essential behaviour through social media, email signatures, websites, posters and bulletins

Click Here for Govt Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants.

Click Here for ABCD useful guidance for musicians and their choirs.

Click Here for EMD the National Governing Body for Group Exercise

Click Here for Sport England Guidance on the Rule of 6 and Indoor Team Sports

Click Here for Govt FAQs What You Can and Can’t Do

Click Here for What Govt Has Changed on 22 September

Click Here for Guidance for making a Support Bubble

Click Here for Guidance For the Charity Sector including AGMs



The Rule of 6 – extract from the Guidance for the Safe Use of Multi-purpose Community Facilities (section 3c) Updated on the 13 October. Click Here



Test & Trace – extract from the Guidance for the Safe Use of Multi-purpose Community Facilities (section 2g)

Community centres and village halls which may host a variety of social, recreational and cultural activities, must collect information for all activities and events taking place within the venue. This should be collected by the person who hires the space. The venue must display an official NHS QR code poster which can be used for every activity that takes place there.

Any designated venue that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties. It is vital that relevant venues comply with these regulations to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open.

Designated venues will need to keep records of customers, visitors and staff for a period of 21 days and make them available when requested by NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials to help contain clusters or outbreaks.

Click Here to find out more about these requirements.



Track and Trace – Organisations that manage it for you

Click Here  for Time to Spare

Click Here  for Secure Check In



Barnham Community Hall in Sussex has produced a short and welcoming video for Village Hall users, including showing their signage, about what to expect and how to conduct themselves when entering and using the Hall.
Click Here



Guidance for Choirs and Choral activities

Click Here



Clarification about Face Covering exemption for physical activity in a Village Hall or Community Building –

The wording that quoted contained in the previous versions of the Govt Legislation and Guidance has now changed (as has been the case on frequent occasions of late) but it is still saying that it may not be advisable for health reasons to wear a face covering whilst engaged in physical exercise and so, where this is taking place in a Village Hall, participants are exempt from wearing face coverings. 
This is from the Guidance 24 September ‘When to wear one, exemptions and how to make your own’ Click Here

“In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

This includes (but is not limited to):

…to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others – including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity” 

and “There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering:

… if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so”

This is covered in the Legislation under “Reasonable excuse” to not wear a face covering Click Here

“(c) … removes their face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to themselves or others;”
However, please be aware that the wearing of face coverings is to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and so your risk assessments should determine, given the level of physical activity, if it is advisable for health reasons for the people involved with the activity to wear them or not. It is still advised to wear face coverings as frequently as possible for all activities other than for the health reasons cited above. Everyone should still be behaving as safely as possible and not looking for reasons not to wear face coverings.
Please get in touch if anything is not clear.


A new, visual reference guide to help those reopening community centres, including village halls, has been published by IF_DO in partnership with Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and Clarion Futures

Click Here to download the IF_DO Guide



The IF_DO Guide for Safer Churches

Click Here



Coronavirus FAQs on the return of Golf from EnglandGolf.org

Last updated:  Friday 7 August (wearing of face coverings inside golf facilities/clubhouses/shops)  

Click Here



Govt Guidance Update 31 July

The wearing of Face Coverings in Community Centres, which includes Village Halls, will be mandatory in Regulations from 8 August. At the moment people are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where they may come into contact with people not normally met.

In England, face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in the following settings: shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport. From 8 August, face coverings will be required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings including: museums, galleries, cinemas, places of worship, community centres and public libraries. For the full list updated 14 August Click Here

Managers of community facilities will have discretion over when they consider it safe to open for any activity permitted by legislation and may decide to remain closed if they are not able to safely follow the advice in the relevant guidance, to make the space COVID-19 secure. For guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities updated 14 August Click Here

Indoor Gyms, Fitness and Dance Studios etc were permitted to be open from 25 July but face coverings are not mandatory in these settings. Guidance states that all forms of face coverings may restrict breathing efficiency and should not be used during exercise except on specific advice from a physician. For guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities updated 13 August Click Here

For The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 Click Here



Use Of Village Halls By Schools – Charity Commission Guidance Click Here



Guidance from the Church of England on conducting Public Worship Click Here



Here is Guidance issued by the Associations for Table Tennis, Badminton and Carpet Bowls.

Table Tennis England Venue layouts Click Here

Table Tennis England Stage 2 Returning to Club Activity Click Here

Table Tennis England Stage 2 Hygiene and Facility Guidance Click Here

Badminton England Guidance to Players Click Here Click Here

English Carpet Bowls Association Coronavirus Guidelines Click Here



Working with Young People and getting their perspectives on Covid-19 lockdown and it’s effect on people and communities

Click Here for Resources to help schools and community groups contribute to Govt Committee inquiry



For Guidance about Weddings Click Here



Keeping Your Hall Covid Secure – a Visual Guide

The Hall Manager at Marston Green Parish Hall near Solihull shared this video with ACRE – You might find it offers some practical visual help in keeping your Hall Covid Secure and helping Hirers to manage their groups and activities safely

Click Here to watch the video



Outdoor Sports Facilities – What facilities are open Click Here

Outdoor sports courts and other outdoor sporting activities have been permitted to reopen if those responsible for them are ready to do so and they can do so safely, following COVID-19 Secure guidelinesOutdoor gyms, outdoor swimming pools and playgrounds can open, as can clubhouse bars and restaurants. Indoor gyms, swimming pools and leisure facilities can open from 25 July. See the indoor facilities guidance.



For those Buildings with After School, Breakfast and Holiday Clubs – Protective measures for out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak Click Here



Covid-19 Govt Guidance For Businesses – Five Steps to Working Safely Click Here



Published 30 June 2020

For a Covid-19 Legionella Guidance document on Lockdown Risks and Reopening Safely from The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health please Click Here



Pre-Schools & Nurseries

ACRE Covid-19 Re-opening Guidance Ref Pre-Schools Click Here

Dept of Education Guidance Re-opening Early Years Settings Click Here



Staying Covid – 19 Secure: Five Steps To Working Together Poster Click Here

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