Following the Government announcement on Monday 05 July 2021 that virtually all Covid restrictions will be removed on the 19th July, the Church Stewards asked that the risk assessment be revised to take account of the planned new norm.
Despite the removal of virtually all restrictions and acting both in accord with the guidance from Government and the task force for places of worship we have decided that, as the Covid risk assessment was produced for a specific potential risk only, the Property & Finance Committee believes that we can address the amelioration of these terms without redress to another full risk assessment.
Whilst there will be little change to the overall level of restriction, what we intend is a relaxation in how we will “police” them, with less insistence on obeying the rules and more reliance on common sense and the desire of most to stay safe.
How Brighouse Central Methodist Church decides to police these aspects, which were formerly required by law, is down to our continuing risk assessment and our decisions of what constitutes a safe environment (Health & Safety). Our approach remains to keep our congregation and all our other building users safe.
As a church we feel that we still need to be very cautious in how we ameliorate the restrictions that we introduced in the early days of Covid.
To this end we intend maintaining the following aspects of our Covid procedures: –
1. Track and Trace using either the register or QR code.
2. Hand sanitising at points of entry and exit.
3. Retain wearing of masks when entering and leaving but NOT during the Service – except, perhaps, when singing.
4. Continue to respect the principle of social distancing – we may add more seats but still maintain a degree of separation.
5. Dispense with the one-way system. It will be up to all users to avoid too close contact when passing one another.
6. Do our talking outside. We realise that many will be reluctant to wear masks, as it’s no longer a legal requirement, so we should conduct the socialising outside where risk of infection is lower.
However, the relaxation of restrictions has given us the opportunity to resume the congregational singing, we ask that you consider wearing your mask when singing (the advice for singers when performing during Covid was to keep 3 metres apart, obviously we cannot do that).
Finally, we need to ensure that we have someone to continue the traditional Door Steward role and ensure that someone is present to greet worshippers and guide them, if required, through the procedures and get them to a seat. This can be a Church, Door or Covid Steward.
Peter Blackburn 19th July 2021
On behalf of Property & Finance Committee