Living with Covid – 19!

Support for Ukrainian refugees – the role of village halls March 2022

Following the Government announced on 21st February, all Plan B restrictions lifted on 24th February. This removed the remaining legal restrictions while protecting people most vulnerable to COVID-19 and maintaining resilience as set out in the government’s COVID-19 Response: Living with COVID-19 guidance

Despite the lifting of all legal restrictions, COVID-19 will remain a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we still need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to others and ourselves. It is important that village halls continue to play their part by understanding the situations where risks of COVID-19 infection and transmission are likely to be higher, and taking action to reduce these risks.

The government guidance for individuals has also been updated here: Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.

  • While there will no longer be a legal requirement for those who have tested positive to self-isolate for a week, those who have symptoms are still encouraged to obtain a PCR test.
  • Until 1st April, employers will need to continue to consider COVID-19 in their risk assessments. After 1st April, employers will instead, be advised to continue to consider the needs of those at greater risk from COVID-19.
  • New public health guidance will be issued from 1st April in order to encourage safer behaviours, replacing the “Working Safely” guidance.

 

For Village and Community Halls:

It is more important than ever, that vulnerable people, those who feel more cautious and who have suffered because of isolation during the last two years feel confident using village and community halls, in order to improve mental health and wellbeing. This is particularly important for their usual, regular activities.

Consequently, we encourage halls to ask users to follow the key principles as set out in ACRE’s latest briefing. This latest information replaces the ‘Covid-19 ACRE Information Sheet’ Re-opening Village and Community Halls’, and is accompanied by updated and shortened versions of the following Appendices:

Appendix C: Poster “Please help keep vulnerable users of this hall safe from Covid”

(People testing positive after visiting a hall still to inform NHS. This has not been adjusted because the NHS app remains in place and monitoring will continue. Free tests are available until April 1st and then only to certain sectors).

Appendix E: Special hire conditions

Appendix F: Sample Covid 19 Risk Assessment for halls

Appendix G: Sample Covid 19 Risk Assessment for hirers

Appendices H and L: (Covid 19 First Aid Box, Treatment Plan) can still be used and have not been revised

(The NHS is asking businesses to remove QR posters and to destroy any records of any personal data that they still may hold for NHS Test & Trace purposes. It is unlikely that QR Posters will be required again, but it may be advisable to keep any copies for reference - and in case a new variant emerges in the future!)

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant – application deadline extended!

Organisations which are ratepayers (includes charitable village halls) are eligible to apply for this grant, and is being administered by rate billing authorities. All businesses will be required to self-certify that they meet all eligibility criteria and local authorities must verify the evidence provided as part of prepayment checks.

Payments will be £2,667 for those with a rateable value (RV) under £15,000, £4,000 for those with a RV over £15,000 and under £51,000, £6,000 for those with a RV over £51,000.

The application closure date has been extended to 18th March 2022.

Rate Relief 2022/23

A 2022/23 rate relief scheme should assist those halls and sports clubs that would usually receive only the 80% mandatory rate relief: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-guidance-202223-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-relief-scheme. "Public halls" are listed in the eligible organisations section.

Government Guidance for grassroots sports providers, volunteering, conduct of weddings etc., early years and out of school settings have been updated to show the removal of the requirement to self-isolate. Refer to the GOV.UK website for the latest guidance.