Operating community halls safely in national lockdown
A checklist of measures to help protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus
The Government announced that the borough moved into Tier 3 'Very High Alert' on Saturday 19 December and then Tier 4 'Stay at home restrictions' from Sunday 20 December. On Monday 4 January, the whole country moved into national lockdown.
National Lockdown ‘Stay at home’ - Community Halls
These are the priority actions to help keep your premises safe and legally compliant during coronavirus. It is your responsibility to keep up to date with developments, and you should also read the full version of the guidance regarding safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.
- Observe restrictions on opening. Community facilities must close unless they are venues used for providing a small number of exempt activities, including:
- support groups
- childcare provided by a person who is registered under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006 or supervised activities for children education or training
- providing essential voluntary services or public support services, including digital access to public services, medical treatment, the provision of food bank or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation services or support in an emergency
- voting, counting of votes or activities ancillary to voting or the counting of votes in an election or referendum
Although premises must mostly remain closed to customers, the following requirements will apply if any staff are required to access the premises to work e.g. to undertake essential maintenance, or to any permitted activities taking place.
Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. It is a legal requirement that you undertake a risk assessment and put in place control measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment
Ensure self-isolation requirements are complied with. It is a criminal offence to allow an employee or volunteer who you know is required to self-isolate to come to your premises to work. Ensure that all staff know that they must inform you as soon as they know that they are required to self-isolate, including the start and end dates of their self-isolation period. This includes those who have received a positive Covid-19 test result or who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Failure to do so could result in a fine starting from £1,000.
Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer or visitor has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating and must not be allowed to come into work or community facility.
- Remind your customers or visitor that it is a legal requirement to wear face coverings when inside your community facility. You must also prominently display signs or notices to advise your customers that face coverings must be worn. Some exemptions apply.For more information visit Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own (Gov.uk website).
- Face coverings are not legally required to be worn by employees in community halls and facilities, but you may wish to encourage staff to do so in appropriate situations Use the link above to check when to wear one and exemptions.
- Display the official NHS QR code poster for your premises and ask your customers, visitors, and staff to ‘check in’ using it on arrival. You can create the QR code poster for your business.
- Ensure that you collect the contact details of those who can’t or choose not to check in using a QR code by keeping a record of their details for 21 days. This is also a legal requirement (some exemptions apply). Learn more about the legal requirements to display the QR code poster
- Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.
- Let customers and visitors know that by law they can only visit with members of their own household or support bubble, in any indoor or outdoor setting. This means that social interaction and shared activity must be limited to groups of the same household or support bubble.
- Check the guidance applicable to activities that are permitted to take place in community premises and halls, such as formal childcare and education, support groups etc. Permitted activities must follow restrictions on gatherings, closing times, social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
- Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs, using floor markings or introducing a one-way system that people can follow. This means staying 2m apart, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.
- Identify the number of individuals or households that can reasonably follow social distancing within the premises, considering the available space.
- Take precautions to stop people arriving at the same time, no matter the size of the building.
- Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your visitors to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
- Increase ventilation. Keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times. Ventilation systems should be optimised to ensure the maximum fresh air supply is provided to all areas of the premises wherever possible.
- Lower music and other background noise. Prevent shouting, singing and dancing in the venue, and ensure music and broadcasts are played at a low volume.