What has changed?
Since January 27th 2022, most legal restrictions regarding covid have been lifted. However although many people have been fully vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19. COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.
It is down to us to do the right thing. We can keep showing kindness and look out for each other by continuing to take precautions and balancing the risks to ourselves and being aware of the risk we present to others.
The guidance on this page is specifically to support local community and voluntary groups to make informed choices about their group, activity, or building. (For other resources for groups, such as Covid Risk Assessment templates, leaflet templates, funding, signposting to other services etc, click here)
Groups & organisations are encouraged to send a representative to join the Covid Champions programme. This ensures you have a good understanding of the coronavirus and how to stop the spread, you have access to medical professionals and local advice, you will get all relevant updates and changes, and you have access to regular catch-up sessions at which groups are able to feedback any concerns or questions. It is a good way to ensure due diligence when preparing to re-open a service and to keep your community / group as safe as possible.
Organising Winter Events 2021/22 – Covid19 Advice to Organisations
There are fewer government regulations in place at present, but Covid safety measures are still strongly advised. If you are organising an event or activity this Winter, here are some useful recommendations. Further advice is available on the government website along with specific guidance on events and attractions.
Current main recommendations are:
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment. As COVID-19 remains a Health and Safety risk, its risk to your staff, volunteers and members of the public should be assessed and controls put in place to reduce that risk so you comply with Health and Safety law. Some Risk Assessment templates are here. Make sure staff and volunteers have seen the risk assessment prior to the event.
- Ensure adequate ventilation (see accompanying guide with details about ventilation and the use of carbon dioxide monitors). This is one of the most important things that you can control and put in place. Encourage staff/volunteers/public to dress appropriately to enable open windows without feeling uncomfortable. Do not hold activities in venues where you cannot ensure adequate ventilation. Hold activities outside where possible. Consider steps you can take to improve the flow of fresh air into an indoor setting.
- Make hand washing and hand sanitisation facilities available in indoor settings
- Increase how often you clean surfaces, particularly things that are frequently touched like door handles and bannisters.
- Require staff/volunteers to wear face masks in indoor settings and strongly urge members of the public to do the same. This will not always be appropriate, for example where eating or drinking, but insisting on mask wearing at other times, for example when moving through a venue is a good plan. Having a spare box of masks is a good idea, as fewer people are wearing them as a rule.
- As far as possible, maintain the possibility of social distancing in indoor settings. This may mean reducing the number of attendees at your event for example, or reducing the amount of time the event is held for.
- Retain signage, eg encouraging mask wearing and sanitising and a Track & Trace poster with QR Code.
- Ensure staff and volunteers take a Lateral Flow Test prior to any event, and encourage members of the public to do the same. Could you have some LFTs available at the venue? Isolate if positive and book a PCR test.
- Ensure staff and volunteers who are unwell do not attend activities. The Delta variant frequently presents with symptoms of a common cold – get a PCR test if you have covid symptoms OR if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Turn away any member of the public displaying symptoms unless they can show a negative test.
- Get both doses of the vaccine and the booster when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well
- It may be helpful to let people know about any covid safety measures you put in place so that they know what to expect when they arrive. Consider whether you can email or text visitors or put some information on your website or social media pages.
Carbon Dioxide Monitors
The public health team in Calderdale has funded a number of carbon dioxide monitors to help groups in the voluntary sector with covid safety measures. Infected people breathe out virus particles, which can build up in the air in enclosed spaces. Good ventilation reduces the build-up of virus particles and greatly reduces the spread of Covid-19 and many other viruses. However simply opening all the windows and doors isn’t practical during the winter months, which is why a CO2 monitor may help keep track of whether the space is adequately ventilated for the numbers of people in it. Exhaled air contains a higher volume of CO2 than inhaled air which is why there is a strong correlation between high levels of CO2 and the elevated risk of catching Coronavirus. A correctly used CO2 monitor will highlight when it’s advisable to open windows (or reduce numbers in the room) and when you can shut them safely. It should be used alongside the other Covid safety measures such as masks and sanitising. They are small (the size of a large phone), battery powered devices that require no installation, and can be easily moved from room to room.online application form. It shouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes. However if the application is successful you will also be required to attend a 20 minute online information/training session to ensure a good understanding of how best to use the monitor for covid safety. We are hoping to distribute these as soon as possible, in order that they are put to use quickly during the Christmas and winter period. Any Questions Please Contact: Catherine.Bann@vsialliance.org.uk.If your centre, organisation or group think that you would benefit from having a CO2 monitor, please fill in this very simple
Guide to ventilation and use of carbon dioxide monitors for covid safety (click to download)
Covid-19 and Community Buildings
- COVID-19: Government Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities
- A good overview of advice around the use of community centres/village halls during covid-19 times – Providing advice and information to help rural communities – ACRE | Action with Communities in Rural England
- Model risk assessment for community halls
Covid-19 and Community Organisations
You may find these government guidance pages useful: