- undertake a risk assessment
- provide information to those entering the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus and information to those working/volunteering about the risks and measures to minimise them
- take reasonable measures to reduce the risks.
The Wales Government has moved to providing general guidance with ‘action cards’ that highlight concerns for particular organisations and buildings. The action card for places of worship and funerals needs to be read alongside the general guidance and the information about keeping Test, Trace, Protect records. Depending on your activities, you may find other ‘action cards’ helpful, such as those for hospitality venues.
The Elders responsible for the risk assessment should consider the risks associated with activities in different parts of the building (for example: worship, refreshments, community use), and the risks associated with different elements of those activities at different alert levels (for example: appropriate times to sing as a congregation with mask wearing and ventilation to reduce the risk of spreading the virus). The alert level and spread of the virus in the community has a bearing on the ‘reasonable measures’ we should be taking within a framework of controls, from stopping the activity to protecting people during the activity.
The risk assessment should be reviewed regularly as changes in the wider threat from the pandemic should be taken into account when considering how the obligation to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk should be met.
Remember that, if you have not already done so, when your Elders’ Meeting (or equivalent) determines that the time is right to re-open for in-person worship, and appropriate consultation has taken place as above, the following documents should be sent to Chris Atherton as the Trust Company Secretary (or by post to 17 Llandaff Road, Canton, Cardiff CF11 9NF) before the building is re-opened:
- A risk assessment for re-opening
- A plan of the building marked with places for hand sanitation; routes for people to follow and seating plan to maintain social distancing; and signage to help people keep safe. (Examples of signs, badges and tape can be found on the United Reformed Church website)
- Your church’s safeguarding policy
- The planned cleaning protocols to comply with the risk assessment
- A copy of the Elders’ Meeting minute