Operating community halls safely

A checklist of measures to help protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus

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.

Reopening from the 12 April

From 12 April community facilities such as community centres and village halls can open to the public. People can meet outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households.

Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.

No indoor mixing between households is permitted unless an exemption applies. Exempt activities include: 

  • 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
  • voting and related activities

Steps you must take to protect yourself, your staff, and your customers during coronavirus:

  • 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 on the HSE website.
  • Measures should be in place to ensure all users of community facilities follow the guidelines on social distancing, including strict adherence to social distancing of 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable).
  • 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 visitors 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 gov.uk
  • Face coverings are required to be worn by employees in community halls and facilities if they are operating in a café or shop area indoors. However, you may wish to encourage all staff to do so in appropriate situations. Use the link above to check when to wear one and exemptions.
  • On entering and leaving a community facility everyone, including staff, should be asked to wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or to use hand sanitiser if hand washing facilities are not available.
  • Public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers, visitors, and staff for 21 days.
    • Display the official NHS QR code poster. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.
    • Ask every customer or visitor aged 16 and over to check in to your venue or provide their contact details.
    • Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect information from your customers and visitors who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app. You must keep this data for 21 days and provide it to NHS Test and Trace if it is requested.
    • Some exemptions apply. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.

Community centres and village halls must collect information for all activities and events taking place within the venue.

  • Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details. ​
  • 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.

For the full Government guidance please see gov.uk