Photo: Government advice on Coronavirus

Community Buildings Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 08 July 2020

8th July 2020

This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on: preparing for re-opening; insurance; Test & Trace; collecting contact details; playgrounds; children & young people activities; and indoor gym & leisure facilities. It includes links to updated ACRE information, following Government Guidance and Regulatory change. Please also read the previous 2, 11, 16 June and 3 July Updates.

Information surrounding Coronavirus and COVID-19 may change; ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) recommends that everyone should follow the guidance issued by Public Health England and the NHS and keep abreast of the ever-changing situation.

Re-opening village halls and community centres:

Despite major changes to the Health Protection Regulations on 3rd July, most (especially for village halls), had been anticipated in the Government Guidance and updated ACRE information sheet. The previous, frequently amended, Regulations have now been rescinded and replaced by completely new ones structured in a different way. The most significant change is not just that the default is for businesses and services to be open rather than closed but also that Government Guidance is now actively referred to in the regulations covering ‘gatherings’.

It is important for village hall committees to note that the Government issued guidance is now effectively part of secondary legislation. The ACRE information sheet and other information provided by the ACRE Network, is designed to assist and interpret this Government Guidance.

The ACRE information has been updated (Appendices D & H) to take account of some of the small changes and is now in its 3rd version. Please ensure you’re using the most up to date version (issued 6 July) available below, with appendices as Word documents.:

Please note, the ACRE information sheet and appendices have all been updated in line with Government guidance. Vist the ACT Coronavirus page to access the latest Update.

he ACRE Information Sheet may be updated in accordance with any further changes to the Public Health Regulations and subsequent Government guidance.

Private parties limited to 30 people (Appendix D updated)

Where safety can be maintained and the premise is COVID-19 Secure, as set out in Government’s guidance, gatherings of more than 30 people are permissible. However, during activities, individuals should not closely interact with anyone outside of the group they are attending the venue with, which is a group no larger than two households or six people if outdoors.

NB: The Regulations only permit events holding more than 30 people where organised by: "a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, a public body, or a political body and a COVID-19 Risk Assessment has been carried out and is complied with".

This therefore means that private parties in village / community halls have to stick to the limit of 30.

COVID-19 First Aid Box (Appendix H updated)

The following bullet point has been added: ‘Do Not Use this Equipment if you have COVID-19 symptoms’.

Decontamination Clean

The requirement to close the hall for 72 hours if it is likely that an infected person has been on the premises has been removed from the revised information sheet ‘Procedures if someone becomes unwell with COVID-19’.

  • Waste from the clean does need to be double bagged and stored for 72 hours before disposal.
  • Cleaners can go into the hall to do a decontamination clean as soon as they are notified that a potentially infected person has been on site.
  • As testing, and track and trace, would take time, it may be best to close the hall and carry out a decontamination clean, rather than wait for a result.

Message from Allied Westminster Insurance Services Ltd:

It is important that halls that DON’T open soon after 4th of July contact their insurers as unoccupancy terms may apply soon after 4th if they don’t open.

In case of Villageguard we arranged extension of full cover till 5th of August so trustees don’t have to rush just to maintain cover, and after that we will ask anyone who has not opened by 5th of August to contact us. We are currently seeking better terms after that date.

We will let you know further update as and when that happens. Large companies like Aviva take longer”

Norris & Fisher Insurance Brokers Ltd has issued: COVID-19 Reopening Advice for Village Halls.

Test and Trace – is it mandatory?

Organisations should collect this information to support the NHS Test and Trace service and help to protect their local communities. It is not a legal requirement; however, following the easing of social and economic restrictions, everyone must play their part to minimise the transmission of COVID-19. This will reduce the need to reintroduce local lockdown measures, protect people against the virus and help to save lives. NHS Test and Trace: how it works

Collecting consent and contact details

Government guidance for the safe use of places of worship includes a template consent form which may also be useful for halls:

To support the NHS Test and Trace programme, we are taking contact details (name and telephone number) for all visitors, as well as recording times entering and leaving [name of place of worship].

In line with guidance issued by the Department for Health and Social Care, we will keep your details safely and in compliance with GDPR legislation for 21 days before securely disposing of or deleting them. We will only share your details with NHS Test and Trace, if asked, if it is needed to help stop the spread of coronavirus. We will not use your details for any other purposes or pass them on to anyone else.

Thank you for your understanding.

If you agree to providing your information for this reason, please complete the following form:

Tel No


The Play Industries Association is in discussion with MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) and has issued a statement confirming it’s position that placing the entire burden of responsibility on the owner / operators is unworkable and that this should largely be a matter for personal/parental responsibility.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has shared with ACRE an example of how one Town Council has dealt with a COVID-19 risk assessment for their playground(s):

“It is not feasible for X Town Council to provide the following: Provision of Stewards; Arrange a booking system; Relocate equipment for social distancing; Clean equipment daily; Provide cleaning equipment; Create entrance and exits – most play areas have only one gate.

X Town Council will carry out the following in relation to the re-opening of Play Areas and Open-Air Gyms: 1. Carry out Risk Assessments including COVID-19 risks; 2. Prior to opening carry out safety checks on all sites; 3. Prior to opening arrange cleaning and repairs where necessary; 4. Produce posters”

Activities for Children and Young People

Government has published guidance for parents and carers of children attending out of school settings. Note: Fitness or sports activity should only be held outdoors except where it complies with the Government Guidance for Out of School Settings.

Indoor Gyms and Leisure facilities

Sport England and CIMSPA have announced a major free training initiative for the sector. ReActivate provides online training to support anyone working or volunteering in the sport, fitness, leisure and physical activity sector in England with the knowledge and skills they need to confidently return to work or restart their coaching activity.

Sign up to receive future updates

If you are involved in running a village hall or community building in Cumbria, and would like to receive information from ACT, please join our mailing list by becoming an ACT Supporter (it’s free!) and we’ll keep you updated.

ACT Community Buildings Events

Following the success of our first online Community Buildings Event, we’re planning another. The event will be followed by a series of smaller online discussion groups to provide an opportunity for discussion and sharing of experience:

Community Buildings Event (presentation with Q&A)

  • Sat 1st August 10am – 11.30am

Follow up discussion groups (max. 15 people, 1 per hall)

  • Tues 4th August 7pm – 8pm
  • Wed 5th August 10am – 11am
  • Thurs 6th August 7 – 8pm

Please visit the ACRE website (Action with Communities in Rural England) for further information and please Contact Us at ACT if you have any questions or issues you would like to discuss for your hall.

Coronavirus page