The Government has announced that places of worship will be permitted to open, but with strict rules in place. These conditions are as follows:
- At least two stewards need to be present at all times to enforce social distancing and regulate the number of people in the church at any one time.
- They must ensure hand sanitisation happens on entry and exit and prevent people with cold or flu-like symptoms from entering.
- Stewards should frequently use hand sanitiser, not eat or drink unless they have washed their hands immediately beforehand and should practise social distancing themselves.
- They must not physically assist people unless in an emergency such as for first aid, and then only if they wear disposable gloves, refrain from coughing or sneezing over people, dispose of all first aid equipment in tied bags in bins.
- Stewards and those responsible for the cleaning cannot be in the vulnerable or shielding category, nor be in a household where there is someone in those categories.
- No-one over 70 years of age or with an underlying health condition or living with someone in those categories can volunteer.
- If possible, different doors should be used for entrance and exit. If not possible, then stewards need to control the flow in and out.
- Alcohol gel needs to be provided at entrance and exit.
- Benches/chairs should be 2 metres apart, with benches taped off to ensure social distancing.
- If doors and windows can be left open, they should be, to provide a flow of air through the space.
- The church must be cleaned fully at the end of each day with all surfaces being washed down with warm, soapy water and then cleaned again using anti-viral spray cleaner. All cloths etc should be disposed of after each clean. Those cleaning need to wear disposable gloves and aprons.
- In addition to this, surfaces that are touched frequently during the day must be cleaned several times throughout the day – such as door handles, benches, grab rails .
- Toilet facilities in churches must be sanitised after each Mass.
- Any printed materials such as hymn books, bulletins, prayer cards etc should be removed.
- Physical veneration of statues, shrines and crucifixes is not permitted. There is to be no holy water in stoups.
- If parents bring children into church, they must manage their behaviour, ensuring social distancing and that as few surfaces as possible are touched.
- A Risk Assessment has been completed before church opens and a checklist completed and sent to the Diocese to confirm that all measures are being followed.
If you have any questions, or think that you could be on a stewarding team, then do get in touch by emailing Paul Glover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
or telephone him on 07508547701