Covid 19 and On re-opening the village hall
Covid 19 – Advice following Lifting Restrictions on 19 July 2021
Following guidelines, we advise you to be cautious about moving away from some previous Covid restrictions.
We ask hirers to use informed decisions to manage your own risks.
It is important to look after yourselves and others, particularly the more vulnerable. Each group will be responsible for its members.
- Ventilation is key to your safety. If possible, create a through draft.
- Clean down all surfaces you will touch before you use them.
- Wearing face masks is encouraged when close to others or in large numbers.
- Please use your phone to scan the NHS QR Code on entering.
Hand sanitiser and cleaning materials will remain available, please make good use of them.
We have removed the folding fabric-seated chairs to the chair store as these are difficult to keep hygienic in the pandemic circumstances. We have therefore locked the chair store temporarily.
Finally, please respect and be considerate of others.
COVID, BOOKING & PARKING UPDATE
When will the uncertainty end? When will the lockdown be over? When will the village hall re-open? These are the questions we’ve all been asking. In this note, the trustees will share their current thinking, particularly in relation to the last of those questions, taking into account the latest guidance from the government and other bodies.
First, let me quash a rumour: we have heard that some of our regular hirers believe that the Perranwell Centre will not re-open until the redevelopment of the building has been completed.
The hall will re-open when it is safe to do so and the government’s regulations allow.
The redevelopment of the hall is a long-term project that will take several years to achieve. In the meantime, the hall will be fully operational.
Thankfully, the Covid infection rate, the number of people requiring hospital treatment and the number of deaths have all fallen hugely from their levels at the beginning of the year. Indeed, in many parts of Cornwall, including our own, the disease is now officially designated as ‘suppressed’. The vaccination programme, which gives great cause for hope, has been rolled out remarkably successfully, although the majority of the population have only received their first jab and the fullest level of protection will not have been achieved until most of the population have received their second jab. The national mood is optimistic that normal life may return later this year, but most people now realize that progress towards that goal will occur not in one great leap, but in measured steps.
The government, having apparently learnt from its previous unwise haste, has published its ‘roadmap’ with a more cautious, flexible and staged approach to relaxing restrictions (HM Government, ‘Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021’). Of course, there is still considerable uncertainty about future events, as exemplified by the discovery of the Brazilian variant in the UK, so the target dates in the roadmap may well be pushed back.
Under Step 2, due to commence no earlier than 12 April, the roadmap says that “The Government will open public buildings such as libraries and community centres,” but two paragraphs later adds, “All newly open settings must abide by the social contact rules,” that is, “no indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt” (page 34). Will village halls and community centres be exempt? The roadmap does not say, but it would seem unlikely.
Step 3 will commence at least five weeks after Step 2 and no earlier than 17 May when adult indoor group sports and exercise classes will be permitted, and “indoors, people will be able to meet socially in a group of 6, or with 1 other household, though it may be possible to go further than this at Step 3 depending on the data.” Will this limit on indoor mixing apply to adult indoor group sport and exercise classes? We don’t know.
Usually following government announcements, village halls and community centres receive more detailed guidance, but none has yet arrived.
As far as the Perranwell Centre is concerned, the trustees, too, are taking a cautious approach. We have agreed that the school will be able to continue to use the building until the end of the current academic year, that is, the end of July. August is, in any case, usually a quiet month for bookings.
Last autumn, while the school was using the hall during weekdays, we did attempt to allow use of the hall by other groups during evenings and weekends. However, this arrangement did not last long as infections rapidly rose again and restrictions were reimposed. If infection rates were to fall more dramatically than expected and restrictions were relaxed more quickly than anticipated, it is tempting to consider whether it might be possible to again allow some groups to use the premises during the evenings and at weekends before September. The problem for us is that this kind of partial reopening would create considerable extra work with, at such an early stage, no guarantee that restrictions would not be reimposed. We will keep an open mind and continue to carefully review the evidence, but we believe that, on balance, it would be better to work towards a more feasible reopening for everybody in September, rather than a partial reopening for a few any earlier than that. Some exceptions may be possible, but each instance will be considered on its merits.
Even in September, it is likely that some form of social distancing and other preventative measures, such as hand hygiene, will continue to be required, so groups will have to do some planning to decide how they will operate within any guidelines or restrictions.
Just to complicate matters, everybody hiring the village hall will also have to adapt to two further changes.
First, when the hall reopens, we will be introducing a new booking system. Instead of contacting our booking manager to make a booking, customers (note the new language) will be able to request bookings via an online system called Hallmaster. Some of you may be familiar with this system as it is already used by other local halls, such as Carnon Downs and Devoran. Customers will be able to see all current bookings to check the availability of facilities before submitting a booking request, which can include requests for a series of bookings for, say, a whole year. Once a booking or series of bookings has been approved, the customer will receive confirmation. The system will have considerable advantages for us as trustees, but we also believe that it will prove attractive to you. As part of the system, we hope to introduce a facility for online payments and gradually phase out the use of paper cheques. More information will be shared later in the year and, for those who wish it, some training will be offered.
Second, the trustees have introduced new conditions of hire with regard to car parking. This has arisen primarily as a result of consultation with local residents about the proposed redevelopment of the Perranwell Centre, but it became clear that car parking and the lack of traffic management had become a key irritant for local residents. The trustees of both the Perranwell Centre and the playing field have an undeniable responsibility to improve matters long before any new building is constructed. The new requirements in relation to parking, together with further details, such as a plan of car parking spaces, can be found at: https://perranwellcentre.org/perranarworthal-village-hall/parking/
The key issue is that the current free-for-all in parking must be replaced be more active traffic management, especially when it is obvious that the number of persons likely to attend events or activities is likely to exceed the number of spaces available. Please read the new conditions carefully and, if you have any questions, please contact the trustees for further information.
Documents informing Users and Hirers about re-opening the building.
Our online diary will be appear later
We have removed the main door access codes for regular hirers and will re-issue them as necessary.
If you have a fob please feel free to drop it in the Hall post box for reuse. You do not need to make a special visit however.