Restrictions from 26th December 2021
From this Sunday, 6.00am on the 26th December 2021, Wales will move back into a version of Alert Level 2 restrictions. Churches and community buildings can remain open, however, the implications for churches and community buildings are:
- Two-metre social distancing is again a legal obligation for all organisers of activities. You need to revert to organising the access and layout of your buildings (churches and halls) to maintain social distancing between persons and households (if you haven’t retained it as part of your current risk assessment).
- It is the elders responsibility to update your risk assessment to reflect the requirement for social distancing and the revised Wales Government guidance.
- The numbers attending worship are back to being limited by the capacity of the building to accommodate socially distanced household groups, including for life events. Worship does not count as an ‘event’ limited to 30 people indoors and 50 outdoors, but larger outdoor services may be misunderstood by people seeing them and may not be a helpful witness.
- Use of buildings for other community activities/events is limited to a cap of 30 people indoors or 50 people outdoors (whilst maintaining social distancing). Note: Numbers at wedding receptions or funeral wakes are limited to the safe capacity of the venue to maintain social distancing
- Face coverings must be worn for all indoor activities, as now
- Singing remains permissible, at this time, but you should consider mitigation measures including requiring face coverings and additional ventilation, along with the 2m social distancing between households. Limiting the numbers of songs/hymns/verses or singing outdoors also reduces the risk.
Attending hospitality venues, theatres and cinemas is returning to the ‘rule of 6’ and whilst this doesn’t impact on worship directly, arrangements for fellowship and refreshments should be reviewed to sit people in socially distanced groups of six.
You may also want to suggest that those coming to the building have a negative Lateral Flow Device test result in line with the ‘flow before you go’ guidance.
In line with the regulation to work from home if practical, no one should be made to feel awkward if they don’t feel safe to fulfil their role in church.
The detailed guidance on how to safely open your buildings will be updated in due course and please keep an eye on the Wales Government coronavirus latest site for when the general ‘reasonable measures action cards for business and organisations’ is published. Subject to the points above, the Welsh Government guidance on Alert Level 2 can be seen at Alert level 2: summary | GOV.WALES
See below links relating to information for churches as ‘employers’ of volunteers and also the updated Wales Government Action card.