ACRE Update 2 December

ACRE has produced a summary of the government’s new Covid Tiers to help Management Committees understand what can and cannot take place take place in Village and Community Halls. Click Here

The note should be read alongside government guidance and ACRE’s Information Sheet for reopening Village Halls.

Local authorities are also providing information on the tiers locally which should be taken into account.

ACRE is working hard to provide considered advice as soon as possible but asks that you bear with them whilst they wait for regulations to be published by government, interpret new the rules and prepare new information.

17 November – The Govt has updated the Guidance for the Safe use of Multi-Purpose Community Facilities Click Here

It is clear that various groups brought to my attention by Halls purporting to be offering education, training or support groups do not meet the exemption criteria detailed below. Regarding Support Groups they must be providing for those who are vulnerable or at risk.

The Guidance states:

November Restrictions

Those who are responsible for community facilities must ensure that the community centre or hall is closed except where it is used for:

  • providing essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency),

  • the purposes of education or training (where education is towards a formal qualification as part of the core curriculum and training is for professional/work-related development),

  • the purposes of support groups, or

  • the purposes of registered childcare or supervised activities for children.

Those responsible for community facilities may continue to access these venues to receive deliveries and to maintain the property.

For those of you being pestered by uniformed youth groups the following applies:

Click Here for Girlguiding

Click Here Scouts

“Following the announcement of a four-week lockdown in England from Thursday 5 November, the National Youth Agency (NYA) has now issued guidance about what this means for all youth sector activity. From 5 November Scouts and all other youth activities will move to Red readiness level.

This decision by the Government means that there can be no face-to-face activity with young people or adult volunteers. Only online meetings can be delivered until further notice.

We expect these restrictions to last until 2 December, when the lockdown is currently scheduled to end in England.”

Click Here to read more at the National Youth Agency

ACRE has updated the current Lockdown Information Sheet Version 2 published on 11.11.20

There has been added a note on financial support in Section 1, Section 2 addresses questions that have arisen relating to permitted activities and Section 3 contains the relevant legislation (previously Section 2)

Click Here

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

New National Restrictions from 5 November

Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available. Click Here

New local Covid alert levels – Tiers 1,2 & 3

The 3 new Covid alert levels (medium, high and very high) are set out in Govt Guidance Click Here

(Please note that this is the position as understood at the time of writing, which may change once the regulations are passed or changed)

Hertfordshire is at Tier 1 the Medium Alert Level – this means there is no change to the current position. People can continue to socialise together in groups of up to 6 and the current exemptions remain in place.

Once an area is designated as High Alert Tier 2 or Very High Alert Tier 3, they are subject to review every 14 days.

The Guidance for Multi-Purpose Community Facilities has been revised to introduce a warning in section 2 Click Here , that additional restrictions apply in areas in alert level high or very high.

The implications for Village and Community Halls are summarised in the latest Information Sheet V.7 below.

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

The ACRE Re-opening Information Sheet Version 7 issued 30 September Click Here

Changes have been made to the following appendices, not the main body of the Information Sheet.
• Appendix C, The Sample Poster, point 6, has been revised to reflect the        wording required in new Regulations covering the display of a poster requiring the wearing of face coverings.
• Appendix D has been revised to reflect the reduction in permitted attendance at weddings and civil partnerships and receptions from 30 to 15 and that only funerals are permitted a group of 30; and a summary of the new legal requirements on bars, members’ clubs, cafes and similar
hospitality venues (eg closing times, no dancing, group limit of 6, table service only).
• Appendix E, Special Condition of Hire SC9, has been amended to reflect the new legal requirement for hirers to keep records of contact details of those who attend activities and encourage use of a NHS QR poster at the hall.
• A new Appendix M has been added which explains the new legal requirements for display of a NHS QR poster and keeping of records for Test and Trace.

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

COVID-secure community facilities are permitted to hold social groups, clubs and activities in groups of no more than 6. Community facilities can host multiple groups of 6, subject to capacity, but groups must not mix socially or form larger groups.

However, we strongly advise that activities where there is a significant likelihood of groups mixing and socialising ( and where it will be difficult to prevent mingling and therefore breaking the law) should not take place in a community facility.

Please Note – ACRE has taken up with MCHLG and others the inappropriate drafting of Section 3c where it suggests WIs, craft activities, veteran groups etc are risky in the context of likely noncompliance with the rules on groups of up to 6. We have pointed out that the risk of noncompliance with the group rules is low, that the risk for these groups is different, that of age and vulnerability and that the confused message is causing groups to close when their members need their socially distanced activities.

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

The ACRE Re-opening Information Sheet Version 6 issued 18 September

This latest version addresses the practicalities of working with the group limit of 6 announced last week, the changed version of the Safe Use of Multi Purpose Community Facilities guidance issued late on 14th September and it also clarifies the Test & Trace responsibilities. There are amendments to Appendices D, E,  F, G, J & K so please ensure you carefully read all the relevant documents.

The Appendices are all contained within the Information Sheet – if you require editable Word versions please contact:

Click Here for the ACRE Information Sheet Version 6

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

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

RHL Grants – If you have not applied for an RHL Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant then you need to do so as the Chancellor has announced that the Business Grant Schemes will close on 28th August.  We understand that some local authorities may have closed the Scheme already.

Discretionary Grants may still be available but check with your local authority.

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

Test and Trace – At present this is not a statutory requirement (ie it is a “should” not a “must”) but you will be contributing to inhibiting the spread of the virus and saving lives if you can keep records of your users, staff and visitors and share them with the NHS Test & Trace) Usual GDPR practices will apply Click Here

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

Indoor Sports facilities – Permissible From 25 July

(includes Village Halls and Community Buildings)

Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities. Guidance for people who work in grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities Click Here

From 25 July indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios and indoors sports venues and facilities are permitted to open subject to the law and supporting guidance. We are assuming that this includes Pilates and Yoga but there will be restrictions dictated by the available space and group numbers.  Hirers must Risk Assess.

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.

Updated on the 14th July

COVID-19: Govt Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities Click Here

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

Also published on 30 June 2020

Govt Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England 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

ACRE Covid – 19 Briefing 21st May 2020 including Govt Regulations summary Click Here

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