Sprowston Methodist Church – Covid 19 Action Procedures

Revised Issue Dated 28/02/2022

This revised Procedure has been created using ‘Covid-19: Guidance for the safe use of places of worship’, published on 16th July 2021 and The Methodist Church GUIDE TO MANAGING YOUR CHURCH BUILDING Version 1: 19 July 2021 (attached).

The Procedure is reviewed and recorded (Appendix A – Procedure Review & Risk Assessment) during the regular Church Leadership meetings and amended as required.

Methodist Church – Coronavirus Guidance for Property

Update from 24 February 2022

The Government has announced that from 24 February 2022 all remaining domestic restrictions will be removed in England.  These include:

  • Removing the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test;
  • No longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those under the age of 18 to test daily for 7 days, and remove the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate;
  • Revoke The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations;
  • Routine contact tracing with also end.

From the 1 April, the Government will set out the ongoing steps that people with Covid-19 should take to minimise contact with other people.  This will align with the ending of free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England and the ending of the need for employers to explicitly consider Covid-19 in their Health and Safety Risk Assessments.

Further information on this can be found here – COVID-19 Response – Living with COVID-19.docx (publishing.service.gov.uk).  A useful summary of these changes is contained on pages 22 – 23.

What churches might still consider going forward?

The Government is still encouraging safer behaviours to reduce the risk of infection.  Churches may still wish to consider these to help those using their buildings feel safe and welcome:

  1. Consider letting fresh air in if possible:

Try to maintain adequate ventilation to rooms, where possible and practical.  See – Ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

  1. Consider wearing face coverings in areas of high risk:

It may be suitable in crowded or enclosed spaces, particularly if ventilation is poor, to wear face coverings, particularly where you share spaces with people you do not normally meet.

  1. Considerations if feeling unwell:

Anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms should still consider taking a test and staying at home and avoiding contact with others if the test is positive.  Particularly if working in higher risk environments or with those who might be vulnerable.

  1. Consider how to encourage ongoing good hygiene practice:

It may be helpful to continue to provide hand sanitiser in convenient areas for everyone to use; keep established practices of cleaning surfaces touched regularly and rooms with high use by different groups such as toilets and kitchens.  Similarly, continue to encourage good hygiene when considering handling shared objects, communal resources and food & drink.

Section 1 – Everyday use of Church premises  – GOV.UK Guidance updated 24.02.22

1.1          Introduction

This guidance procedure is for:

  • members of the public who may be attending a place of worship
  • members of the public or professionals who may be responsible for places of worship
  • professionals who work at places of worship

1.2          Keeping yourself and others safe

It is important that we all use personal judgement to manage our own risks. All of us can play our part by exercising common sense and considering the risks.

1.3          Steps everyone can take to reduce the risk of transmission

  • It may be suitable in crowded or enclosed spaces, particularly if ventilation is poor, to wear face coverings, particularly where you share spaces with people you do not normally meet.
  • Anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms should still consider taking a test and staying at home and avoiding contact with others if the test is positive.  Particularly if working in higher risk environments or with those who might be vulnerable.
  • It may be helpful to continue to provide hand sanitiser in convenient areas for everyone to use; keep established practices of cleaning surfaces touched regularly and rooms with high use by different groups such as toilets and kitchens.  Similarly, continue to encourage good hygiene when considering handling shared objects, communal resources and food & drink.

Note:

  • There are hand sanitation stations at entrance and exits.
  • Visiting Leadership Team members / photocopying person to clean as they go with anti-bacteria cleaner.
  • Anti-bacteria spray bottles and kitchen rolls / paper towels stored on-site for cleaning pre, post and during building use.

Section 2 – Facilitate Worship / Prayer/ Funerals/ Junior Church (16 years old and under) and Commemorative events to celebrate the life of a person who has died

2.1          Preparation

Doors and two windows are to be open before, during and after the service where practicable, Steward controlled. Fire Safety and Safeguarding should be taken into consideration. The Stewards will ensure that all doors and windows are closed before securing and locking the building.

 Numbers Attending and Social Distancing

There are no legal restrictions on numbers of people attending worship, churches activities or third party activities, and social distancing measures have been removed. It is important, through conversation and risk assessment though, to be open and understanding of individual concerns and anxieties and accommodate them where possible. Particularly for those who are vulnerable or at greater risk of being infected.

Note 1: Those who need or prefer to remain socially distanced are very welcome to use the Hall

Note 2: The Wesley Suite and Prayer Room are used to facilitate Junior Church (16 years old and under).

2.3          Face Covering and Exemptions

The wearing of face coverings upon arrival and inside the building is based on personal preference.

2.4          Hand Sanitisers

There are hand sanitation stations at entrance and exits.

2.5          Holy Communion

The elements are delivered and used as directed by the Minister and Stewards.  For the Holy Communion procedure see Appendix F – Holy Communion.

2.6          Audio/Visual System

Computer/sound/video camera operated by hand sanitised users and are to be anti-bacteria cleaned before and after use. Anti-bacteria wipes/spray and hand sanitiser on kept on system desk.

2.7          Ablutions

The Stewards are to check liquid soap supplies and paper towel supplies before every service. See Appendix E- Toilet Cleaning Log.

2.8          Cleaning

General statements:

  • Keep the areas being used in the building clean and prevent transmission from any touching of contaminated surfaces
  • Paper hand towels only in toilets with open topped, bagged bin. Disposed of immediately after service by gloved Steward and cleaners.
  • Visiting Leadership Team members / photocopying person to clean as they go with anti-bacteria cleaner and fill in the visiting premises track and trace register
  • Anti-bacteria spray bottles and kitchen rolls / paper towels stored on-site for cleaning pre, post and during building use.

2.9          Hygiene

Stewards are to ensure that disposable gloves, face coverings, anti-bacteria spray bottles, liquid soap and kitchen rolls / paper towels supplies checked before service.

Doors, external and internal, are to be left open where possible to minimise contact with handles etc. Fire Safety and Safeguarding should be taken into consideration.

2.10        Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Disposable gloves are to be worn as required.

  • Information and Guidance

Covid 19 information is projected before the services. Verbal instructions from a Steward is given to those assembled from a printed script.