Photo: Government advice on Coronavirus

Community Buildings Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 16 June 2020

16th June 2020

This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on: preparing for re-opening; indoor markets; places of worship; and ventilation systems. Please also read the previous 2 June and 11 June 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:

At this point in time we believe halls may be able to open on Monday 6th July, if they are able to do so. There will not be a requirement to open.

ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) has issued a detailed Information Sheet and appendix documents for use, to support village and community halls planning re-opening:

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.

MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government) is still aiming to publish formal Guidance during the “middle” of June, probably this now means w/c 22 June, to give Community Centres a little notice of the changes to restrictions placed upon them and Guidance to help them comply with this.

ACRE is working as far as possible with relevant Government departments so that hall managers have confidence they are working to “joined up” guidance and this version reflects current information. This Information Sheet may be updated in accordance with Government guidance issued between 15th June and the first week of July, and any subsequent Government guidance. It is therefore based on a 2 metre social distancing requirement.

ACT is holding a free online Community Buildings Event on Saturday 27 June for anyone involved in running a community building in Cumbria. The ACRE information sheet will form the basis for much of this event (event details and booking).

Indoor Markets:

As of 2.30pm on 12th June 2020 Government amended The Health Protection Regulations relating to community centres to include indoor markets:

5. (7) A person who is responsible for a community centre must ensure that, during the emergency period, the community centre is closed except where it is used to provide

(a) essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency),

(b) for early years childcare provided by a person registered on the Early Years Register under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006, or

(c) to host an indoor market

“Early years childcare” is defined as in the Childcare Act 2006 and means for children from birth to five years old.

Places of Worship Guidance:

Government guidance issued for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic, to assist places of worship to open for limited permitted activities on 13 June.

Mechanical Ventilation systems:

We understand that the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) have advised that, in the present CV19 emergency, mechanical ventilation systems should not be used in recirculation mode as it could circulate the virus as well. This would be when air is re-supplied to occupied areas without the addition of a proportion of fresh air, say 15%. Some heating systems also draw in air and recycle it. Where this is the case windows or doors will need to be kept open when heating is in use again, unless/until the pandemic is over, with consequential impact on heating costs.

See section 4 and p47 of the buildings regulations, which provides the dimensions of openable windows required.

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.

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