COVID-19 Policy & Risk Assessment

Version 1.2

First date of implementation: 14 July 2020

1. Purpose

  1. This policy is written to serve the church family, visitors and staff of Christ Church Mayfair for services and midweek bible study meetings in the building.
  2. This policy will be reviewed: a) as our activities change e.g. if midweek Bible studies become possible; b) every month or more frequently if the Covid-10 situation changes and/or government/Church of England guidance varies in a way that would impact our meetings.

2. Principles

  1. We believe that the Bible teaches it is important for believers to meet together as a body wherever possible.
  2. We will aim to create an environment that makes it easy for people to adhere to government guidance and to reduce the risk of people catching or spreading Covid-19 as far as we are able.
  3. Staff and elders will lead by example.
  4. We will expect people to adhere to the principles and will encourage people to do so where possible.
  5. We are committed to following the latest government and Church of England guidance which can be found online: Church of England Guidance and Government Guidance which is regularly updated.

3. CCM Church Context

  1. The context of this policy and risk assessment is within a plan to have service in church.
  2. As the majority of the church family are under the age of 50, gathering together (in a safe manner) will not be a cause of great concern for many but we are concerned to protect as far as possible those who are more vulnerable and to welcome all ages safely to our building. CCM also has a duty of care to its staff and interns.
  3. For those who are concerned or who have to self-isolate/shield at home, as well as the number excluded by the restrictions the amount of physical space permits, live streaming will continue in order to be as inclusive as possible.

The church family were asked in a survey between 1st and 6th July for their opinion about church services restarting and in what format. We received 183 responses (from both individuals and households) and their thoughts and concerns have been taken into account.

4. Background

  1. COVID-19 (also known as SARS-CoV-19) is a new type of coronavirus which was originally identified in Wuhan, China.  Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which cause a range of illnesses; these include the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).  The virus can be spread by direct droplet spread produced by coughing and sneezing but also by touching something contaminated with the virus (e.g. objects or surfaces) and then touching their face, nose or mouth.
  2. The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing, but some patients may have serious complications including pneumonia and renal failure. Many individuals do not display symptoms but may be infectious. Those who are older or with underlying medical problems are at higher risk of the serious manifestations.

5. Risks and Mitigation

Risks Controls required Additional information Action by whom?
Lingering infection in the building prior to opening. Possible infection from stagnant water (legionella) Buildings have been aired before use. All windows opened and doors front & back left open for at least an hour Interns
Disinfecting clean throughout building Regional cleaners
Water systems flushed through before use.
All taps run for 15 minutes and toilets flushed Interns
Doors and windows to be opened during use wherever possible to improve ventilation. Interns
Not knowing who attends an event identify who was at the service for Track and Trace/to avoid exceeding capacity Before return of wider church family e.g. while skeleton crew are going into church to broadcast, log book placed at entrance for people to record entrance & exit No pen left for multiple use Intern
For services, church family asked to sign up beforehand.
For smaller services e.g. midweek for students, invitations will be restricted and details taken at the door.
Spaces for newcomers built into total. Newcomers’ names and contact details requested on arrival.
For weddings and baptisms names of guests and contacts to be provided in advance by family.
Information held in compliance with GDPR and retained for 21 days to be shared with Track & Trace if requested as per government guidance on safe use of places of worship (section 4). (Church family having already given consent for details held in ChurchSuite database, only necessary to give newcomers information about GDPR) Event organiser
If capacity is reached (see point 6 below), regulars will be asked to kindly forego their places.
Multiple services provide enough capacity that majority of people should be able to attend a Sunday service.
Brief staff and stewards
this shouldn't happen with booking system but conceivable if large numbers of newcomers turn up.
Operations Manager
Queueing on entry causing social distancing challenges Church family asked to arrive early and allow plenty of time to enter. Event organiser
Clear signage and if necessary, tape on the pavement outside to encourage safe social distancing. Operations Manager
Rapid seating through good stewarding. Event organiser/interns
Incoming people infecting surfaces Hand sanitiser stations placed at entrance for use as people enter Interns
Put up notices to remind visitors about important safe practices e.g. keep social distance, practice hand washing etc. Interns
Internal doors propped open before event (except door to men’s toilet) to reduce need for touching. Intern
If the church has been used in the last 72 hours ensure high-risk surfaces and touch points have been wiped with appropriate sanitiser spray or disposable wipes. This includes between services or uses, even if multiple times during the day. Intern
Cleaning of church after use (after each service if personnel change e.g. musicians/sound desk operators or at end of Sunday if same personnel all day) following checklist unless no-one will use the building for 72 hours. See Appendix 3 Intern
Close contact on entry, while seated and on exit Social distancing measures to be maintained where possible. Floor markings so indicate safe distances and posters displayed to reinforce Operations Manager
One point of entry and different point of exit designated and clearly signed to manage flow of people. Emergency exits available at all times.
Bride will be allowed to enter via Brick Street entrance exceptionally and doors propped open for her entrance.
Enter through Down Street, exit via Brick Street.
If buggies struggle down step of Brick Street entrance, they may exit under guidance via Down Street.
Operations Manager
Flow of movement marked out for people entering and leaving the building to maintain physical distancing requirements. Operations Manager
Front row of chairs placed at a safe distance (min. 2m) from the platform and not in line with lectern to minimise risk of being sprayed by service leader/reader etc. Singers will be further back on the stage. Intern
Rows of seats spaced at 2m apart. Those attending asked to leave minimum of 2 empty seats between households. No face to face seating. See 6. Maximum capacity below
Intern
Discussion after services to take place outside if weather permits with max of 6 in one group socially distanced and now mingling between groups.
If in church, only 2 households at safe distance facing forwards.
Leader to make the call on the night Leader
Guests asked to go straight to seats on arrival and not to mingle with other households. Similar at end of service. Reminder in confirmation email.
Verbal notices.
Stewards and Service Leader
At the end of the event, people asked to stagger leaving times to avoid crowds at exit and to leave promptly without mingling. Verbal notice
Stewards/staff to discourage people at exit.
Service leader
Guests asked not to gather in groups, except with members of their own household, inside or outside the building. Verbal notices Service leader
For weddings if the bride is to be ‘walked down the aisle’ she should only be accompanied by a member of her household, while bridesmaids should be careful to observe physical distancing unless also from the same household. Minister in charge
2m zone around seated tech operators marked on floor to make safe distance clear to other church family (esp. while operators are fixing technical issues) Tech team
Slides to be shown periodically through events reminding people to keep at a safe distance from one another and to wash hands/sanitise regularly. Tech operator
Infection through sharing use of items Access to kitchen and refreshment facilities/equipment will not be allowed. People will be asked to bring bottles of water with them.
If someone feels unwell and needs water, one church staff member only will enter the kitchen to obtain water, and will use a disposable cup.
Briefing beforehand Operations Manager
All bibles and pens removed from use. Intern
Access to kitchen and refreshment facilities/equipment will not be allowed. Briefing beforehand Event organiser
People encouraged to bring own bible/water/pen. Event organiser
Only hard plastic toys available in creche for use which are sanitised and then isolated for at least 72 hours after use. Operations Manager
Weddings: Pen for signing registers to be wiped with sanitising gel before use. All signatories to sanitise hands before and after signing. Minister in charge
Weddings: if required, orders of service to be placed on seats in advance using gloves. Guests asked to take them away at the end or put into recycling as they exit. Briefing beforehand Minister in charge
Weddings: Bride and groom bring rings. Officiating minister blesses rings without touching them and blesses/prays for couple without contact. Minister in charge
Infection through dispersion of aerosols All over the age of 10 requested to wear face covering while in the church.
The exceptions permitted by government for wearing face coverings e.g. for those with medical conditions etc to be followed
A few spare masks will be available at the entrance
This is mandatory under new regulations from 8 August 2020.
Event organiser
Lectern placed 1m back from edge of platform.
Plexiglas screen to be placed in front of lectern so that those speaking at the lectern (service leader, preacher, reader etc) do not need to wear face covering while contributing to service
Screen may be removed for livestreamed services where lights are on to prevent glare. Front row of seats will be placed at least 2m back from platform. Interns
Safe protocols for use of microphones and washing of microphone windshields circulated for musicians and service leaders. Distributed to interns, service leaders and musicians.
If different musicians to be used, they should also receive these protocols
See Appendix 2
Elena Stronach/Jo Hext
No loud music before/after service to reduce need for raised voices. Sound desk operator
Musicians on stage to be located at 2m distance from one another. Band leader
No congregational singing because of dispersal of aerosols. In normal circumstances Singing by one or two leaders only behind Plexiglas screen. Plexiglass screen should be cleaned after use by the singer.
For special services, a small trained choir may sing at safe social distance from each other and the congregation.
Live singing gives greater degree of church engagement and variety of songs than recorded so mitigation put in place to make this as safe as possible.
Guidance on amateur choirs has been updates October 2020
Operations Manager
Musicians asked to bring their own instrument e.g guitar. If keyboard is to be used, it should be wiped after each use. Similarly piano and stool. Musicians will be wearing face coverings (not singers)
Guidance on the use of brass/wind instruments has been updated October 2020
Band leader/for a wedding: bride & groom
Seats to be placed at the side of the stage at safe distance apart for band/service leader to sit in while not on stage. Intern
Trips and falls caused by livestream equipment now introduced into church. Fall of equipment onto people Tripods and cameras secured as safely as possible. Safety barrier located around cameras and tripods to reduce risk of church family, particularly children, knocking into them Tech Team
Cables running from AV desk to cameras etc. covered with ramped trunking Tech Team
Infection through visiting toilets Check that handwashing & toilet facilities have adequate soap provision before each use.
Hand dryers that require push button operation to be switched off and paper towels used
Government has confirmed use of hand dryers is safe in safe use of places of worship (section 4). Those which operate on a sensor can still be used. Intern
Alcohol gel stations placed in the entry way to the stairwell down to toilets with signs encouraging use on entry and exit to toilets. Operations Manager
As access to toilets is via one narrow staircase and space within male & female facilities limited, a maximum of one man and two women will be permitted downstairs at any one time. Someone should be designated to monitor this situation before and after the service begins.
Children under 11 e.g. at a wedding, to be accompanied to the toilet
Signage to be put up to say this Intern
All asked to use disposable wipe/paper towel and spray to sanitise toilet seat, flush, taps and door handle as they exit. Signage to this effect in each toilet and materials provided. Signs in toilets to ask people to close lid before flushing. Operations Manager
Public Health England signs displayed near each wash hand basin. Operations Manager
Cleaning rota (with space for signature and tick) displayed on stairwell to toilets. Operations Manager
Sharing Lord’s Supper Receive bread only as permitted by Church of England. Masks may be removed to receive. Service leader
Mark aisle to keep safe distance between those receiving Further consideration of Lord’s Supper needed Interns
Upset baby during service Three households per service can be directed to balcony room if no others in there and if they maintain social distance. This room will then need to be wiped down after use Brief any parents attending in advance
One steward at back of church will monitor occupation level.
Event organiser
Infant Baptism Parents/guardians and godparents should maintain safe social distance from each other and the minister as far as possible Officiating Minister
Officiating minister should sanitise hands before beginning Officiating Minister
Parent/guardian should hold the baby throughout the baptism Officiating Minister
Water should be poured over the baby’s forehead using an appropriate implement e.g. small jug Parent/guardian should wipe the baby’s head with a towel they have brought themselves. Parents/guardians should be asked to bring a towel and then to ensure it’s safely stowed away/removed Officiating Minister
The minister should sanitise his hands before and after the Signing with the Cross on the baby’s forehead Officiating Minister
If a new Bible is to be given to the parents/guardians for the child, it should not have been touched for 48 hours beforehand. The minister should sanitise his hands before giving it to the adults Officiating Minister
Parents/guardians asked to supply names of guests attending for Track & Trace and if anyone vulnerable is attending, reminding others to take particular care in observing physical distancing and not attending themselves if they feel unwell. Ops Manager
Safeguarding All attending will be made aware that they could appear on camera and seats out of shot will be indicated for those who want them. Warn in advance of attendance Event organiser
Emergency evacuation Emergency evacuation procedures e.g. in the event of a fire trump social distancing protocols Brief staff and interns in advance Operations Manager
Coronavirus case in church Those present asked at the end of each event to inform the church office if they develop Coronavirus symptoms within 72 hours of being at church. Event Organiser
Action Plan in place and communicated to leaders in event of Coronavirus case known to enter premises See Appendix 4 Operations Manager

6. Capacity

Asking for sign-ups will allow us to determine the maximum number who can attend for any event

Chairs will be laid out in rows spaced 2m apart and congregation asked to leave 2 empty seats between households. The transept will have individual/pairs of seats laid out to enable anyone who might require greater distance around them to do so. With this layout and if balcony can be used for 3 households at distance of 2m apart the maximum capacity is approximately 80.

For weddings the maximum allowed is 15 excluding officiant and verger/intern provided by church.

See Appendix 1

7. Communications

  1. The church family will be reminded when invitations to midweek meetings and Sunday services (and weddings) are issued that those who are vulnerable, shielding or self-isolating should remain at home and that those showing symptoms or self-isolating should not attend.
  2. The record of those signing up for each midweek bible study and Sunday service will be retained on ChurchSuite with additional names/contacts e.g newcomers retained by the church office for 21 days following GDPR although we will not compel people to give their names and contacts. A photograph of the room will be taken to show which people were near others and retained for 21 days. For weddings the bride and groom will be asked to submit a list of the names of attendees in advance of the wedding which will be retained for 21 days (and which will allow the seat layout to be configured). If anyone submits their name for attendance, it will be assumed they attended, even if they pull out at the last minute. These lists will be made available to the government Track & Trace programme if necessary.
  3. At the end of each service those present are asked to let the church office know if they develop symptoms of Covid 19 within 72 hours of being at church. If the church becomes aware of an individual who attended the service who has confirmed coronavirus, or who is likely to have coronavirus, advice will be sought from the local PHE Health Protection Team.

8. Governance

This has been drawn up by Sharon Walsh in consultation with the Elders and other members of CCM. Date of review/approval

Who Date
Staff and Interns 14/7/20
Elders 13/7/20
PCC 14/7/20
Trustees 14/7/20
Updated to reflect latest government and Church of England guidance. 30/10/20
Elders review and approval. 2/11/20

Appendices

Appendix 1 - Maximum Capacity

Asking for sign-ups will allow us to determine the maximum who can attend for any event:

  • majority of rows of seats at 2m distance and leaving 2 empty chairs between households + seats in transept laid out with individual/pairs of seats at 2m all around means a capacity of approx. 80
  • For weddings the maximum allowed by government guidelines is 15 including officiant but excluding verger/intern provided by church.

Appendix 2 - Safe Recording Process

Cleaning headset mics

One headset will be supplied per preacher, it should be labelled and only touched by the preacher & recorder Recorder wipes all down with alcohol wipes before and after the recording

For each recording

  1. Recorder puts batteries in beltpack, screws specific headset into beltpack
  2. Recorder checks signal is being received into the sound desk from the headset, and that the signal is going into the recording software
  3. Recorder wipes down all externals of headset & beltpack and leaves on a clean table
  4. Preacher collects headset & beltpack from table and fits it as normal for a Sunday Service
  5. Preacher does a test recording of roughly 2 minutes
  6. Recorder checks the test recording to ensure sound and video are coming in clearly
  7. Full recording of segments, do each segment in a separate recording
  8. Preacher removes headset/beltpack and leaves on the clean table
  9. Recorder removes batteries from beltpack and puts to charge, then cleans the beltpack and headset
  10. Recorder puts headset in sealed ziplock bag that has preacher’s name on a label
  11. Recorder wipes down table that had headset/beltpack on it

Lectern mic

  1. If the lectern mic needs to be used, the process is the same as the headsets in regards to wiping down the lectern stand, the microphone spine etc.
  2. The outside cover of the mic (windshield) is to be replaced after each use.
  3. Any used windshields are to be put in a ziplock bag and labelled clearly as needing to be washed

Appendix 3 - Cleaning Checklist

The infection risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) following contamination of the environment decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.

After every use or daily Action Guidance Completed
(tick)
Comments
- Put on disposable gloves before cleaning commences
Every use Hard surfaces (including tables, lectern, seat frames) wiped with disinfectant wipe or disinfectant solution* & disposable cloth/paper roll Use yellow mop & bucket for kitchen
Do not use bleach/other chemicals on historical surfaces e.g. wood of organ case
Every use ‘High touch areas’ wiped with disinfectant wipe or disinfectant solution & disposable cloth/paper roll (including light switches, taps, door handles, stair rails, keyboards)
Every use Toilets – including sinks, taps, flushes cleaned with disinfectant or disinfectant solution & disposable cloth/paper roll and floor cleaned with disinfectant solution. (Use the dedicated mop for this) Use plastic bin bags where possible.
Use green mop & bucket for toilets
After each event/
weekly
Hoover church floor (carpeted)
Daily All bins emptied in church and toilets, bags tied and new bags put in
- Waste stored in area not accessible to children until it can be safely disposed of
- Hands washed with soap and water for 20 seconds, after removing PPE Hand wash using warm water after cleaning and regularly throughout the day.

*bleach solution 200ml to 5l water.

NB Available information suggests that unless they have been soiled soft furnishings do not need to be cleaned other than as part of your usual cleaning processes, which may include vacuuming with a soft brush attachment (CofE church cleaning guidance from June 2020)

Cleaning/labelling supplies

  • There are wipes in the office/kitchen. Alternatively use alcohol-based sanitising gel on blue paper towel to wipe surfaces down. There is additional blue paper towel and individual paper towels in the basement.
  • Use labels from the office to put on the ziplock bags. Please bring a pen from home to use on the labels - do not use one of the church pens
  • Use disposable gloves from the kitchen. Let Sharon know if supplies are running low of this or other stock e.g. ziplock bags

Appendix 4 - Coronavirus Emergency Action Plan

Should someone attending the church display symptoms of Coronavirus the following steps will be taken:

  1. The person will be asked to leave as soon as possible, return home and seek guidance from NHS111 as to self-isolation and testing.
  2. Anyone known to have been in close contact with the case advised to wash their hands as soon as possible
  3. Any surfaces likely to have been contaminated cleaned in line with cleaning guidance.
  4. Consider whether to bring the service to an early conclusion.
  5. Consult Health & Safety Executive website as to whether the event should be reported: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/riddor/.
  6. Building to be closed for 72 hours before next use then cleaned
  7. If 72-hour closure is not possible then Public Health England guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings will be followed
  8. Follow-up with the individual to identify whether they have been diagnosed