covid 19 compliant
We Are "COVID-19 SECURE"
COVID-19 Risk Assessment Document.
Actual Capacity – 350 People
COVID Secure – 30 People
We will be running two services on Sundays with a maximum capacity of 30 people booking on a first come first serve basis.
Max 30 People at once
RCCG Fruitfulland Parish Tilbury UK COVID-19 Risk Assessment Guidance for Re-opening the Church Premise and commencement of Service/Worship Conducts following the Phased Lifting of Lockdown Restrictions During the Pandemic 04/07/2020
1.1. RCCG Fruitfulland Parish understands that the maintenance of proper hygiene at our Parish Premise and Services are of utmost importance. As further restrictions have been lifted, we have adapted to changes through this COVD-19 risk assessment guidance on order to be prepared for the ‘New Normal’.
1.2. RCCG Fruitfulland Parish is aware that since the 13th of June, Churches were re-opened for individual prayers while observing social distancing rules. We have now taken all necessary precaution through this risk assessment guidance to support us to re-open from the 4th of July for Congregational Worship of up to 30 people as far as the premises are ‘COVID-Secure’.
1.3. As such, we have taken adaptation steps to make our Parish as COVID-Secure as possible based on the relevant government guidelines in the UK.
1.4. This means a complete review of the physical aspects of OUR church activities using the guidelines provided by the Government. It includes adapting some aspects of worship activities that may result in physical contact.
1.5. Thus, this COVID-19 risk assessment will guide us in RCCG Fruitfulland Parish Tilbury in preventing/limiting the spread of COVID-19 during the Pandemic.
1.6. The COVID-19 Risk Assessment guidance has been read in conjunction with the government’s advice on re-opening places of worship, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-ofplaces-of-worship-from-4-july/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-ofworship-from-4-july
1.7. Certain aspects of the guidance have been re-worded for clearer understanding within RCCG UK’s denominational context.
- Highlights – Adapting Practices to Reduce the Spread of Infection
2.1. RCCG Fruitfulland will adapt new practice during church services, especially where worship would otherwise have taken place over many hours or days, to ensure the safety of those present. As such services will be conducted in sets of two, 1st service and 2nd service within one and half hours each time. So that service will be concluded in the shortest reasonable time to minimise the spread of infection.
2.2. Once service is over, members attending will be encouraged to move on promptly, to minimise the risk of contact and spread of infection. Where appropriate, spaces will be reconfigured to enable members attending to be seated rather than standing, which reduces the risk of contact. Also, one way entrance and exit point will be clearly marked for safe entrances and orderly exit to further reduce and or prevent the the spread of the COVID infection.
2.3. We will adopt a hybrid approach to live services by continuing to stream our worship services or other events to avoid large gatherings and to continue to reach those individuals who are self-isolating or particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
More specific guidance is as follows:
2.4. The use of shared items
2.4.1. Individuals/members will be prevented from touching objects that are handled communally. Barriers and/or clear signage will be put in place where necessary to avoid this taking place.
2.4.2. Reusable and communal resources such as hard copy Bibles, Sunday School Manuals, and other text or devotional materials will be removed from use where possible.
2.4.3. In circumstances where worshippers cannot bring their Bibles and Manuals, we could support to keep a selection of Bibles, Manuals and other devotional texts for individuals to use. Once cleaned, such items will be quarantined for 48 hours since their previous use and will be quarantined for 48 hours again after use. Items which cannot be easily cleaned will also be subject to the 48-hour quarantine after use.
2.5. Food and Drink
2.5.1. Where food or drinks (‘consumables’) are essential to the act of worship, such as communion, they will be used; however, the sharing of food will be avoided, as well as the use of communal vessels. At RCCG Fruitfulland Parish we will only use individual pre-filled communion packs.
2.5.2. If it is necessary to handle consumables, those giving and receiving food items will wash their hands thoroughly before and after consumption, or wear gloves.
2.5.3. The person distributing the consumable will be asked to release it into the hand only, in such a way to avoid any contact between them and those receiving it, or wear gloves. If accidental contact does occur, both people will be asked to clean their hands immediately.
2.5.4. Other mitigations will also be considered, for example, foodstuffs where unavoidable will be pre-wrapped, and a system will be in place to prevent individuals from coming into contact with consumables and any dishes and/ or cutlery other than their own (for example the use of shared bowls). Coffee dispensing machines and water bottles will also be locked up.
2.5.5. In case of celebration ceremonies, speaking, singing and chanting will not happen across uncovered consumables (other than consumables to be used by the celebrant alone). Instead, consumables must be securely covered, and prior to the receptacle being opened, should be cleaned, hands must be washed or gloves worn.
2.5.6. Hospitality spaces within our worship premise, such the kitchen area will be open but will be limited to just two members of the Welfare & Hospitality team at a time or just two members of the same household at a given time. Social distancing will be emphasised and observed where two people are not of the same household or bubble group in line with the government hospitality guidance.
2.6. Singing, Chanting and the use of Musical Instruments
2.6.1. Singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting will be avoided. Instead, lead singing by one member of the choir will be observed in a low voice. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets. Therefore, spoken responses during worship will also not be in a raised voice.
2.6.2. Activities such as playing of instruments that are blown into will be avoided in worship or devotions and in rehearsals. This is because there is a possible additional risk of infection in environments where individuals are singing or chanting as a group, and this applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.
2.6.3. One person only will be permitted to sing, and the use of plexiglass screens will be considered to protect worshippers from them, as this will further prevent transmission, and the screen can be easily cleaned. Microphones will be disinfected before and after use. Where possible cordless microphone will be used and not passed around during the service.
2.6.4. As music plays a big part in our worship, we will consider using recordings where available or possible as an alternative to live singing.
2.6.5. Musical instruments that are blown into such as trumpets, saxophones etc will be avoided. Musical instruments such as keyboards, drums and bass will be used but will be cleaned thoroughly before and after use.
We are aware that the government and the medical and scientific communities are urgently engaged in research around transmission risk and how such activities can best be managed safely, and further guidance will follow when available.
Our COVID-Secure risk assessment will be reviewed as further guidance and research is established in this area.
2.7. Weddings, Birthdays Events etc. There are no current plans for wedding or birthdays at Fruitfulland Parish. However we will follow below guidance in case such ceremonies materialises;
2.7.1. We are aware that it is strongly advised that only essential aspects of the ceremonies take place at this time.
2.7.2. No food or drink should be consumed as a part of the event unless required for the purposes of solemnisation.
2.7.3. Weddings should have no more than 30 people present. Worshippers should maintain social distancing.
2.7.4. Large wedding receptions or parties should not take place after events.
2.8. Cash donations
2.8.1. Where possible, we will discourage cash donations and continue to use online or contactless giving and resources.
2.8.2. Where this is not an option, cash should be collected in an offering basket that is set in one place and handled by one individual, as opposed to being passed around. Regular cleaning and hygiene will be maintained, and gloves worn to handle cash offerings where giving continues.
2.9. Young people and children attending places of worship
2.9.1. Young children will be supervised by the parent or guardian. They will be encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use hand sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered. Designated COVID-19 risk assessment officers or Ushers will help remind children and young people, and their parents and guardians; of the important actions they should take during the COVID-19 outbreak to help prevent the spread of the virus. Children under five years old must be accompanied at all times to the toilets by an adult from their own household. Posters on general hand hygiene will be posted at conspicuous or clearly visible areas to further promote hand hygiene awareness.
2.9.2. Any shared facilities for children, such as play corners, soft furnishings, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean, will be removed and/or put out of use.
2.9.3. Particular attention will be paid to cleaning frequently touched surfaces by children and those that are at child height.
2.9.4. The children’s department’s teaching at different age group and class groups will continue to online. The Principles in general guidance from the Department for Education should also be followed for any separate children’s activities being organised by the place of worship alongside or within a service.
2.10. As a place of worship, we have a workforce volunteer team in various departments; as such we are aware of their responsibilities and the responsibility of the church under health and safety law.
2.11. In Fruitfulland Parish, we have a duty of care to volunteers to ensure that as far as reasonably practicable, they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
2.12. Church leaders, family, volunteers, staff and members, including children, will be advised to stay at home and self-isolate if they have a new, continuous cough or high temperature or loss of or change to sense of smell or taste. This is to minimise the risk of spread of COVID-19 to church members, friends, the wider community, and particularly the vulnerable.
2.13. To help decide which actions to take, a COVID-19 risk assessment has been completed in addition to any risk assessment already in place.
2.14. We are aware that from 4th July the two metres, social distancing rules is reduced to 1 metre (plus), where it is not possible to maintain 2 metres. 1 Metre plus means, 1 metre apart while taking mitigating measures such as avoiding face to face seating, face coverings, etc., to reduce the risk.
2.15. To facilitate this, one point of entry and another point for exit, both of which has been clearly marked.
2.16. Notices in conspicuous places to emphasise the key advice that Members should stay two metres or a metre ‘plus’ apart from anyone outside of their household will be boldly displayed, advising that No physical contact is to take place.
2.17. Temperature checks will be used to test member’s temperature at the point of entry. If anyone becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, they will be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance. If they need clinical advice, they will be advised to go online to NHS 111 (or call 111 if they do not have internet access). In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. In addition, any equipment used during the check-in process at the point of entry will also be sanitised after every use.
2.18. Test and Trace: Awareness will be created and members will be informed that the government has launched an NHS Test and Trace service to manage the risk of the virus re-emerging. The service:
- provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to find out if they have the virus;
- gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any recent close contacts they have had; and
- alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.
2.19. We recognise our duty and responsibility to assist this service by keeping an accurate temporary record of visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable. This will help NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed for contact tracing and the investigation of local outbreaks.
2.20. We have created a booking system for visitors through Eventbrite UK, in addition to limiting numbers to adhere to social distancing guidelines to a maximum of 30 people in attendance per service. This booking system will also assist the test and trace system.
- Individuals Aged 70 Years and Over Attending Live Services
3.1. We are aware that certain groups of people may be at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, including people who are aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions.
3.2. Individuals who fall within this group will be advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if they do go out, to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside of their household.
3.3. We will continue to share such information with these groups in particular of the symptoms of COVID19 and current stay alert and social distancing guidance.
- Practical Steps for Church Buildings
4.1. Carry out a Risk Assessment. Templates available at https://www.hse.gov.uk/simplehealth-safety/risk/risk-assessment-template-and-examples.htm
4.2. The building will be aired to minimise mould spores etc. As the building has been closed completely for the lockdown period, the doors will be left open and any easily opened windows will be opened for at least an hour before spending any time in it.
4.3. This is due to excessive dust and mould spores having gathered during the closure, which could potentially be a health hazard.
4.4. When airing the Church, the designated officer/volunteer will need to wait outside the Church while airing it out, both for your own safety and to ensure that nobody else accesses it.
4.5. We will ensure that the church building interior is appropriately cleaned, paying particular attention to any rodent droppings that may have gathered while the Church was in lockdown.
4.6. We will run all the taps (to minimise the risk of legionella and other potable water diseases) and flush and clean toilets. Run the water from all taps and other hot and cold water-outlets for at least five minutes to ensure the water system has been thoroughly flush through. If you we have any concerns, we will seek appropriate professional help/advice. (This is very vital because the water system has been left unused for a while, hence the possible growth of harmful bacteria and other germs in the water storage system).
4.7. General maintenance items such as Electrical Systems; Emergency Lighting and other lighting will be checked. We will also check for battery strength and carry out a test on the unit; this could save lives in periods of emergency.
4.8. Fire Alarm Systems: a routine check on the system will be carried out. This a safety mechanism that has already been installed in the premise. The fire alarm has always been routinely maintained and serviced.
4.9. Install health and safety signages/Posters at strategic locations, e.g. all church entrances and exit points, toilets, and all service areas. These will all be installed as an infection prevention strategy.
4.10. If Pastors or ministers are likely to use the building or sections of it, as part of a rota for prayers, children ministry, meetings or ministration, those parts or sections of the Church that are touched often (doorknobs, light switches etc.), will be thoroughly cleaned in-between use.
4.11. Hand-sanitisers will be available at the entrance door. All those attending Church services will be gently and politely asked to wash or sanitise their hands as they enter the premises. Also, we will ensure there is an adequate supply of soap, hand wash liquid or hand gel in cloakrooms, kitchens and any other appropriate areas.
4.12. Signages will be posted in toilet cubicles to ensure all toilet lids are closed before flushing to prevent risk of splashing.
4.13 Children under five years old must be accompanied at all times to the toilets by an adult from their own household.
4.14. Steps will be taken to ensure that only occupants of the same household can occupy the toilets where possible, where not possible a distance of 1metre by clearly marked signs on the floor will ensure distance is kept.
- Restrictions on Capacity
5.1. We are aware that in line with government guidelines limits for communal worship will be decided locally, based on the capacity of the Parish’s building following a risk assessment of this kind.
5.2. We are also aware that the number of people permitted to enter the place of worship at any one time should be limited, so that a safe distance of at least 2 metres, or 1 meter with risk mitigation (where 2 meters is not viable) between households.
5.3. We have risk assessed our Parish auditorium in terms of the size and circumstance (including ventilation) of the premises to determine the maximum number of people that can be accommodated while also facilitating social distancing. Even though the auditorium can sit more that 30 people, this risk assessment has considered that the church will accommodate a maximum of 30 people per service in alignment with government guidelines. This number may change as lockdown is eased
5.4. This has been discussed at a COVID-19 Risk assessment meeting Chaired by the Pastor to decide on a safe number of people. In defining the number of people that can reasonably follow social distancing, the total floor space, as well as likely pinch points and busy areas, were taken into account (such as entrances, exits) and where possible alternative or one-way routes has been introduced.
- Conduct During Services / Other Activities Summary
6.1. According to government guidance, in rare circumstances where it is necessary, washing facilities within the place of worship will be used in line with social distancing guidelines and hygiene measures applied. Although there are no washing facilities in our premise, toilets facilities will be required to be used with strict hygiene routines observed therein.
6.2. We are aware that all activities that require physical contact should be avoided, e.g. water baptism. We have no water pool on our premise, however all water baptism activities usually performed outside our premise will equally seize for now to protect members.
6.3. There will be no embracing, handshaking or other direct physical contacts by members and the Pastorate during and after the Service.
6.4. Electronic giving will be encouraged; however, where offerings (donations) are in cash, offering baskets will not be passed around but left in a conspicuous place, and encourage the Ushers to wear gloves and other forms of protective items always.
6.5. The account department will ensure those handling any form of cash must adhere to strict guidance by wearing face coverings (masks) and gloves, and counting should be carried out in well-ventilated rooms while maintaining social distancing.
6.6. There will be zero tolerance policy in place on sharing any form of bibles, prayer books, manuals, paper bulletins etc. Each person should bring their own books, writing materials, and take them home with them after each service.
6.7. Electronic display of church manuals/bulletins should be encouraged rather than handing out the paper version.
6.8. If services are being streamed, the filming should be done either with a fixed camera or by a designated member of the multimedia Department.
6.9. Everyone coming to the Church will be encouraged to wear face-covering where possible and avoid all forms of embrace and shaking of hands during and after each Service. Except where medically impossible due to conditions like sinuses, asthma etc. However, no form of face covering will be allowed on children three years old and below.
6.10. The “Laying on of hands” and “anointing of oil” should be deferred as it involves direct physical contact.
6.11. Where required, members’ bottles of anointing oil can be blessed by the Pastor.
6.12. The Holy Communion can be conducted by the distribution of individual Prefilled Celebration Cups.
6.13. Pastors / Ministers must wash their hands before and after distributing the Communion elements.
- Church Equipment
7.1. Avoid handling equipment frequently as the study of other coronaviruses found they remained on metal, glass, and plastic for days.
7.2. Disinfect microphones before and after each use. The use of wireless microphones is recommended.
7.3. Ensure a designated member of the multimedia department handles the media equipment and that surfaces are disinfected before and after use.
- Common Areas/Church Facility
8.1. Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of surfaces of door handles, light switches, lift buttons, water taps, water fountain and other amenities.
8.2. Ensure there is a regulated cleaning schedule of toilets and convenience rooms during and after services should be put in place. The church cleaning department will set up a 30-minute check on all toilets during periods of church service to mop the floors and sanitised the toilet seats.
8.3. Heating Systems/air cooling system: there are numerous types of heating systems and cooling systems in play with different installation and service requirement. The service requirements of the systems in our premise will be followed strictly.
8.4. Fridges: All food storage spaces and cooling systems in the Church premises will be sanitised/cleaned as required. All out of date confectionaries are discarded at the Church Office, Children’s Department, hospitality lounge, Staff welfare rooms, Church guest rooms and Pastors Offices, etc.
- 9. Enforcement
9.1. At RCCG Fruitlland Parish, we are aware of the enforcement provisions, as is in the case for other sectors.
9.2. We are aware that where the enforcing authority, identifies responsible individuals who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks (including the government guideline to church re-opening), they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of risks.
9.3. We are aware that under existing Health & Safety legislation, failure to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment could constitute a breach, as could having a risk assessment with insufficient measures.
9.4. We are aware that the actions the enforcing authority can take include the provision of specific advice to employers to support them to achieve the required standard, through issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to two years.
9.5. We are aware that our Parish will be expected to respond to such actions of any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities rapidly and are required to do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authority.
We are aware that Inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure those places of worship are taking the necessary steps. We note that there may be spot checks from the government’s task force.
In our drive to ensure we are compliant with the UK Government Task Force (Public Health England), Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) for preventing the spread of COVID-19, RCCG Fruitfulland Parish Tilbury (the Church) will be implementing a strict COVID-19 guidance compliance regime as stated within this Risk Assessment document.
Certain aspects of the guidance have been re-worded for clearer understanding within RCCG UK’s denominational context. Excerpts are from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-from-4-july/covid19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship -from-4-july last accessed 3rd July 2020.