COVID POLICY

Statement updated 28th August

All information follows guidance  received from The Bridge, the advisory body for village halls in the Borders.

After the 9th August the government’s social distancing mandate shall be removed, which is a major game-changer for community centres like ours. From that date onwards, all three of the halls within our building shall return to use. For dimensions and number capacities see under the tab Make a booking. The restriction of just one person being allowed in the kitchen and in each toilet has also been lifted.

There are two aspects to making a booking.

1. The regular booking process – Handled by our Booking Clerk, Christine Little, booking@stboswellsvillagehall.orgSee the Make a Booking page for details.

2. The special booking process, as forced upon us by Covid. Handled by our Secretary, Alastair Minnis, secretary@stboswellsvillagehall.org.  You have to confirm to him that you agree to abide by the Hall’s current general Risk Assessment and the Special Terms and Conditions relating to Covid as detailed on the hall booking page. (These have been updated, in light of recent advice).  The main points are summarised below.  We no longer require from each group a formal risk assessment to be submitted as a condition of booking. However, we strongly advise that group organisers should reach out to their members, to discuss with anyone who is vulnerable in any way the risk which may be involved in attending the event in question.

A few mandates remain, and we have to implement them.

They are a condition of hire for anyone wishing to make a hall booking.

1. Face coverings.  These MUST be worn in the building, except while actually engaged in such permitted activities as eating & drinking, delivering a speech, exercise, Pilates, and sport.  (Some people are exempt – individuals with certain health conditions and children aged under 12. ) It is therefore a requirement that audiences must wear face coverings, whether at a book reading, live music performance, drama production or other kind of show. The performers do not have to wear face coverings while on stage, but will have to do so at all other times. Interpreters for those who rely upon lip reading may also remove face coverings. If food and drink are consumed at such a performance, masks may be removed but must be replaced afterwards.

2. The hall MUST continue to collect contact information for the NHS Test & Protect scheme. In order to make this easier, a QR code has been acquired, and copies of a “Check in Scotland” poster have been positioned to enable people to “scan in” with their smartphone cameras on entering the building. But of course, not everyone has such a device, and so the hall committee shall also provide hard copies of forms on which contact details may be written. In the lobby, beside the hand sanitizer dispenser, you will find forms (1.) for individuals to complete, in the case in which a person attending an event cannot scan in (though other group members may be able to do so), and (2.) for groups, on which all the group-members’ details can be written in by the group organizer. In the case of small groups, this may be the simplest and best way of providing the required information. Completed forms should be popped into the locked postbox we have placed in the lobby for this purpose. Contact details for everyone in the building must be provided. This also applies to children’s events. The event organizer must fill in the children’s names, together with contact details for their parents/guardians. Details shall be held confidentially for the statutory 21 days, and then destroyed.

Wedding receptions

involving people being served at tables (and classed as hospitality events) can now be welcomed. Please put your requests to us.

Children’s parties

are permitted, subject to adults wearing masks during activities, and If the kitchen is being used for food preparation masks should be worn therein and children excluded from that space.

Eating & drinking 

Face coverings can be removed to eat and drink. If a hospitality-style setting is provided, then face coverings can be removed while seated in expectation of eating and drinking. However, face coverings should be worn when moving about e.g. queuing at a bar, going to the toilet, etc.  It is now possible for people to stand and drink at a bar. In which case, a face covering can be removed. However, organisers must discourage standing and drinking if it is likely to create pinch points. Standing with no drink (e.g. going to buy a drink) will require a face covering. Table service is no longer required for the serving of food and drink, but room layout and people-management should aim to discourage people congregating at pinch points (e.g. at a buffet table). Food and drink can be brought in ready for consumption, or alternatively, prepared on the premises in a separate room.

Catering, serving & bar staff

In all communal areas, catering, serving and bar staff, whether paid or voluntary, will have to wear a face covering. In a separate kitchen, closed-off to event attendees, staff can remove face coverings if they can remain one metre from colleagues or anyone entering the kitchen. External caterers must be made aware of, and comply with, the hall’s safety measures.

Dancing

Face coverings can be removed for dancing in hospitality settings. After a dance, if a person then goes anywhere other than back to their original seat (e.g. to go to the toilet), they will be required to wear a face covering once again.

Strongly advised

Managing the flow and number of attendees at an event is very helpful, especially to avoid pinch points (e.g. bar areas, buffet table, entrances/exits, toilets). This will mean extra consideration in terms of table placement and room layout. We strongly recommend the use of hand sanitizer (a dispenser is in the lobby) , constant hand washing, and ensuring good ventilation. Before departing, users are encouraged to wipe down any surfaces they may have touched during their visit; cleaning materials are provided in a box placed on the stage. In the toilets, the air-blowing hand dryers are still disabled, in light of aerosolization concerns. Paper towels are provided.

The Secretary is happy to talk through any Covid-compliance procedures; please feel free to ask.