Changes from 19 July 2021 in the Meeting House
What does the government’s removal of restrictions on mask-wearing and social distancing on July 19th mean for us as a Quaker Meeting?
Our main approach is to maintain the more important and less intrusive safety measures, such as ventilation and using outside space, and those measures that insulate one group from another when using the Meeting House at the same time (for example, requiring face coverings in shared spaces like toilets.)
Things that are staying the same:
We shall continue to:
- Restrict the number of people in the Centre at any one time
- Keep the building well ventilated
- Encourage the use of our gardens, especially for breaks and refreshments
- Require face coverings in shared spaces (toilets, corridors, kitchen)
- Restrict the use of the kitchen to one group at a time
- Ask people to come into the Centre only if they are well
- Provide all hirer groups and Quakers with information about the changing symptoms of Covid-19
- Maintain our increased cleaning schedule and the availability of sanitisers.
- Meeting for Worship will continue to be blended, with the Zoom option remaining.
- Contract tracing arrangements will continue as now.
Things that are changing:
- From July 19th, Friends attending Meeting for Worship can choose whether or not to wear a face-covering. Two rooms will operate:
- the Main Meeting Room to accommodate up to 30 Friends who wish to continue to wear masks.
- the Garden Room for up to 10 Friends who wish not to wear them.
- Arrangements for serving tea, coffee and biscuits after Meeting for Worship will not change. This may mean that people who have worshipped without masks in the Garden room but are now serving from the kitchen hatch must now put masks on. Socialising and unmasked eating and drinking will be, as now, outside in the gardens if at all possible, or in small groups spread through the building.
Our Covid Protocol Group will continue to assess risk for Meeting for Worship and specific, large Quaker events.
Regular Quaker groups (for example, Craft Group, Overseers) should decide for themselves whether to meet face-to-face indoors and, if so, whether to distance or wear face-coverings within their own meeting room.
What decision is made will depend on a combination of:
- Are all or almost all participants fully vaccinated?
- Are some participants at particularly high risk (for example, immunocompromised)?
- Do participants feel comfortable meeting indoors without face-coverings, even if all in the group are fully vaccinated?
- Is meeting outdoors a possibility?
We are constantly monitoring our covid safety measures and trying to provide an environment that will be safe and feel safe for all Friends. We hope these new developments will enable the Meeting House to feel just a little bit more normal.