Serving the people of Norfolk

Roadmap for the opening up of Libraries and NCC run Community Centres

  • We are currently at step 1, as below, with the restricted use of Norfolk CC Libraries and Community, with a few exceptions.
  • At step 2 (no earlier than April 12), then "gatherings" limits will come into play in relation to any activities hosted, as below.
  • For adult learning, if the activity falls within the list of what is classed "education and training" (see definitions below) then they are able to run from Step 1. However, if they are more vocational or hobby courses then they will be from step 3 (May 17th at the earliest).

29 March 2021 – Step 1

Library services

Can be open for:

  • Support groups (see below). Restricted to maximum of 15 persons (not counting children under 5)
  • Childcare by registered childcare provider, supervised activities for children under 18 or who were under that age on 31/8/20
  • Education/training as para 4(5) definition (see below)
  • Providing essential voluntary or public support services, including digital access to public services, the provision of food bank or other support for the homeless or vulnerable, blood donation or support in an emergency
  • Voting and related activities for an election or referendum

Libraries can operate via the click and collect method (which is working brilliantly at my local library!).

Community centres

Can be open for:

  • Essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services
  • Provision of digital access to public services
  • Education/training as para 4(5) definition (see below)
  • Support groups (see below)
  • Childcare by registered childcare provider, supervised activities for children under 18 or who were under that age on 31/8/20
  • Weddings, funerals and commemorative events as permitted
  • Voting and related activities for an election or referendum.

If the community centre has a cafeteria or restaurant, then these are still restricted at step 1 and can only sell food and drink for consumption off the premises. Any seating provided outside the community centre either by the community centre itself, or that is habitually used by customers to consume food and drink purchased from there, should be taken out of use (otherwise they fall into the outdoor hospitality definition which is not permitted until step 2).

Step 2 – Not before 12 April 2021

Libraries and community centres are no longer restricted premises and can open. At step 2, we will still be under the 'rule of 6 / 2 households outdoors' and 'one household' rule indoors. There are exceptions to these gatherings rules which would apply to certain events and activities hosted by these venues. I've picked the ones that are relevant to libraries and community centres (more relevant to community centres with most of these).

  • Education and training (see below)
  • Gatherings for certain purposes (e.g. work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services)
  • Support groups (see below). Restricted to maximum of 15 persons (not counting children under 5).
  • Marriages and civil partnerships (15 people maximum). The gathering organiser or manager needs to have taken the "required precautions" (see below).
  • Outdoor wedding and civil partnership receptions permitted for up to 15 persons (outdoor hospitality rules apply). Organiser/manager to take the "required precautions" (see below).
  • Commemorative event following a person's death (no more than 15 persons). The gathering organiser or manager needs to have taken the "required precautions" (see below).
  • Children - - includes later years provision, within the meaning of section 96(6) of the Childcare Act 2006, or supervised activities for children or other persons who were under the age of 18 on 31/8/20
  • Parent and child groups – must be organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body for the benefit of children under the age of five (limit of 15 persons – doesn't include children under age of 5 in that limit).
  • Election or referendum observations
  • Indoor sports/fitness related activity for persons who have a disability, children or persons who were under the age of 18 on 31/8/20. Must be organised by a business, charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or public body, in premises which are operated by an organisation of that type (e.g. NCC operated community centre), and the organiser or manager needs to take the" required precautions". This does not permit spectators (i.e. parents of participating children) to be part of the gathering.

Any cafes or restaurants are permitted to serve food and drink for outdoor consumption on the premises. Any indoor part of the premises, in which food or drink are provided must close. If the premises sells alcohol, then full table service is required outside (this means ordering and serving to customers who are seated). This isn't required for premises that do not serve alcohol (and a customer can enter the indoor part to order and pay). However, in both cases, the person responsible for the food business must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the customer remains seated outdoors whilst consuming the food or drink on the premises.

As all retail opens at step 2, we have already asked the question of the government about events such as farmers markets and craft markets in community centres. The response is that markets are permitted and as community centres can open, those events can be held in those premises. The Social Distancing Delivery Group discussed this and we would only advise against fair-type events that bring people together for a set period of time, to engage in activities such as game stalls (tombola games for example), or magic shows on stage etc. There's a danger this could be classed as an organised gathering indoors which is not permitted until step 3.

There is a "permitted organised gathering" exception at step 3, that relates to outdoor gatherings only. We are awaiting further details from the Local Government Association as to what this will allow in relation to events, but it is possible that community-style events such as village fetes could take place in outdoor areas of community centres but I wouldn't want to confirm that just yet. Anyone part of the "permitted organised gathering" must participate alone or as part of their qualifying group (rule of 6 / 2 households etc).

Step 3 – not before 17 May 2021

At this step, the gatherings rules change, allowing the rule of 6 or two households indoors. The same exceptions apply as above with a few notable changes:

  • The "permitted organised gathering". As long as each person participates alone or as part of their qualifying group (group of 6 or 2 households). As I've stated above, we are awaiting further guidance from the Local Government Association on what this means for "events" but we think this could mean village fetes could be held indoors at this point. It could possibly mean that adult learning course that do not fall within the "education and training" definition below could go ahead at this stage. When this wording was used previously, it permitted groups such as hobby and craft groups to meet so we expect it to be the same.
  • Indoor sports open up to including adult sports and fitness related activities. So exercise and dance classes can resume in community centres for adults at this step.
  • The limit on marriages and civil partnerships goes up to 30
  • Indoor wedding and civil partnership receptions can take place as long as there are no more than 30 persons, and the gathering organiser/manager takes the "required precautions".
  • Commemorative event following person's death (no more than 30 persons). Organiser or manager to have taken the "required precautions".
  • Significant event celebration – gathering for a ceremony, rite or ritual to mark or celebrate a significant milestone in a person's life, according to their religion or belief, which includes lack of belief. No more than 30 persons, "required precautions". This would capture christening or bar mitzvah celebrations for example.

Indoor hospitality opens so any cafes etc can open for indoor service, but note interplay of other coronavirus legislation outlined below.

Step 4 – not before 21 June 2021

Step 4 provisions have not been captured in the current regulations so all we have is the Spring 2021 roadmap to be able to advise upon. If you have anything specific in mind, please let me know and I'll endeavour to provide the advice as best we can at present.

Definitions

What is meant by "education and training"?

A specific list of activities is provided in the regulations. If the activity does not fall within this list, then it is not deemed "education and training" for the purposes of premises use and gathering limits.

(a) early years provision;

(b) educational activities of a school;

(c) a course of study or essential life skills training provided by—

(i) a 16 to 19 Academy,

(ii) a provider of further education, or

(iii) a higher education provider;

(d) activities relating to residing at a school, a 16 to 19 Academy or a provider of further education;

(e) provision specified in an education, health and care plan;

(f) the suitable education of a child otherwise than by regular attendance at school arranged by a parent in accordance with section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (and for this purpose "suitable education" has the meaning given by section 436A(3) of that Act);

(g) the suitable education of a child otherwise than by regular attendance at school arranged by—

(i) a local authority, as defined by section 579(1) of the Education Act 1996, in accordance with section 19 of that Act, or

(ii) the proprietor of a school at which the child is a registered pupil, including where the arrangements are made in connection with section 29A of the Education Act 2002 or section 100 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006,(and for this purpose "suitable education" has the meaning given by section 19(6) of the Education Act 1996);

(h) activities provided by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body for the purposes of—

(i) obtaining a regulated qualification, within the meaning of section 130 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009(6), or

(ii) meeting all or part of the entry requirements for an educational institution;

(i) preparing for work through a skills programme consisting of—

(i) a work experience placement, or

(ii) work preparation training;

(j) applying for, and obtaining, work;

(k) meeting a requirement for a particular area of work;

(l) professional training that is working towards an external accreditation recognised by a professional body;

(m) exams and assessments carried out in connection with any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (l).

What is a "support group"?

"A group or one to one support which is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend its meetings, for example those providing support:

  1. To victims of crime (including domestic abuse)
  2. To those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviours;
  3. To new parents;
  4. To those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness or terminal condition or who are vulnerable;
  5. To those with a disability, or caring for persons with a disability;
  6. To those facing issues related to their sexuality or identity including those living as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender;
  7. T o those who have suffered bereavement;
  8. To vulnerable young persons."

Note that the wording provides this list as examples, so it is not exhaustive, If you have a group wishing to use a premises, please let me know and we'll work out whether it fits.

What are the "required precautions"?

There are two requirements:

  1. The gathering organiser or manager has carried out a risk assessment that would satisfy the requirements of regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (whether or not the organiser or manager is subject to those Regulations)
  2. The gathering organiser or manager has taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus, taking into account –
    1. The risk assessment carried out as above, and
    2. Any guidance issued by the government which is relevant to the gathering

Under Health & Safety legislation any business will be expected to complete a risk assessment, regardless of whether the "required precautions" element is specified in these Regulations.

Interplay with other coronavirus legislation

Contact details

Both libraries and community centres are listed services for the purposes of the "contact details" regulations. A QR code poster is required and contact details are to be taken from every visitor (name and telephone number suffices). The provision to allow the lead member of a group to only give their details has been removed, meaning every customer/visitor needs to have given their contact details.

Face coverings

The requirements for people to wear face coverings inside at community centres and libraries are still in force.

Obligations and Undertakings

  • Face coverings poster – libraries and community centres must display a notice reminding people of the requirement to wear a face covering whilst on the premises. If there is no sign, the responsible person must ensure a person who is not wearing one, is reminded of the need to wear one.
  • Hospitality (cafes etc) restrictions – tables must be 2 metres apart, or no less than 1m if there are mitigating measures (e.g. screens, back-to-back seating, outdoors etc). No bookings accepted or people admitted if they are out-with the gathering restrictions (rule of 6 or 2 households outdoors in step 2 and indoors from step 3).

Sources of guidance

COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) The "Road Map"

Reopening businesses and venues - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Posted: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 11:00 by Helen Carrier

Tags: Coronarvirus, NCC