Please note this guidance as been superceeded by further restrictions released on 22nd September. This limits support groups to 15 people. The full guidance is here
On 14th September new rules came into place on meeting with friends and family safely.
So what do they mean?
The key change is that when meeting friends and family you do not live with, in a social setting, you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors.
You may be thinking that you can't run some of your services, however, guidance shows that Support Groups run by charities are permitted activities and are exempt from the limit of 6. This includes activities carried out indoors or outdoors.
The key element to consider is that is your activity organised and supporting a specific group, that they will benefit by coming together. You must still carry out a full covid risk assessment and within this consider that the reason for the limits of social gathering is due to the infection rates increasing and the need to limit the potential for transmission.
Considering the guidance, an organised support group for new mothers meeting inside or outside would be exempt, however the same new mums meeting outside of the organised event as friends would not be exempt, they would be limited to meeting as 6 (including children).
General social activities are not exempt so activities like a fundraising event brining members of the community together either indoors or outdoors is limited to 6.
There full list of exceptions include:
- where everyone lives together or is in the same support bubble, or to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents
- for work, and voluntary or charitable services
- for education, training, registered childcare, or providers offering before or after-school clubs for children
- fulfilling legal obligations such as attending court or jury service
- providing emergency assistance, or providing support to a vulnerable person
- for you or someone else to avoid illness, injury or harm
- participate in children’s playgroups
- wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, or for other religious life-cycle ceremonies - where up to 30 people will be able to attend
- funerals - where up to 30 people will be able to attend
- organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes (see the list of recreational team sports, outdoor sport and exercise allowed under the gyms and leisure centre guidance
- youth groups or activities
- elite sporting competition or training
- protests and political activities organised in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessment
There is further guidance available on the permitted use of community buildings below.
The updated guidnace for those that operate community facilities states that;
2.a. - Social distancing and capacity
Community facilities following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6.
If partaking in permitted activities users of COVID-19 secure community facilities should limit their social interactions with anyone they do not live with. Whilst activities may have 6 or more people participating (where it is safe to do so and capacity permits) it is important for all parties to maintain socially distant, 2 metres or 1 metre with actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission (where 2 metres is not viable) between households. For example, use of face coverings and encouraging good hand hygiene on entering premises and throughout visit.
So what are the permitted activites that can take place?
The following sections have been taken from the guidance document.
3a: Early years and youth provision
Community facilities which serve as premises for early years provision and childcare have been allowed to open for this purpose from 1 June. Providers of these services in community facilities should follow the relevant government guidance
3b: Voluntary sector and other service provision
Community facilities are currently able to open for essential voluntary activities and urgent public services, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions. Any provision should be conducted in line with the core principles of social distancing and shielding for clinically vulnerable people set out above.
3c: Recreation, leisure and social gatherings
We recognise the importance of social clubs for some individuals and recommend that these can proceed with caution in venues that have been made COVID-19 secure.
Clubs or groups that use community facilities can begin to meet again and facility managers should follow these COVID-19 secure guidelines to facilitate that.
People meeting in a club or group context at a community centre should be encouraged to socially distance from anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble.
3d: Meetings and civic functions
3e: Retail and shop facilities
See the guidance relevant to shops and retail settings, including indoor markets, which may also apply to some activities in community facilities.
3f: Places of worship
3g: Office spaces
Where community facilities feature office space, see the relevant guidance for office spaces.
3h: Outdoor space
Where community centres feature outdoor space, see the guidance for safe use of outdoor public spaces.
Please see the full guidance for the use of community facilities here
How should you change your services?
In light of the guidance you should take the time to review the community services you are delivering, however you do not necessarily need to take the steps of cancelling support groups or activities you are running, especially if you are looking to use community facilities to host them.
You need to consider:
- how can you make sure that social distancing is maintained
- that the groups that you have limit their interaction with others or to small groups e.g. limit their social interaction at the start and end of the event.
If you are unsure after reviewing the guidance please contact us and we can discuss your activities and see if we can help you come to a decision.