Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Standing Guidance

The guidance for ringing in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is considered separately here in line with different national rules and guidance from the respective Churches. Each country is working along its own roadmap for reducing restrictions and our roadmap is based on that. Thankfully it is nearing an end although the delay to the removal of restrictions in England was as a great disappointment and inconvenience. It is important to note that the governments’ roadmaps are as yet silent on what amount of social distancing and facemasks are going to be needed even beyond the full lockdown release.

England

Ringing guidance for the period from Monday 19 July has now been agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group and can be found here. Restrictions have largely been released at this time when Government is stressing personal responsibility, although there is still guidance on such matters as facemasks in certain circumstances, and the importance of ventilation in towers. There are no longer restrictions on how long you ring for, or with how many other people.

Talk by Phil Barnes on ventilation and Covid safety in towers
Scotland

The Scottish Association is now providing guidance to towers in Scotland and that advice can be found here.

Wales

Guidance for Wales has been updated for the situation since 7 June and can be found here.

Ireland

Ringing is returning to towers in Ireland based on local interpretation of government guidance.


The Central Council is not itself responsible for the implementation of these guidance notes, and the spirit underpinning all your decision making should be one of reasonableness and responsibility, taking into account the public health messaging from local and national leaders at all times, and in consultation with Chapters/PCCs, incumbents and churchwardens.

This guidance is being constantly updated to keep in line with any changes in the Church’s own guidance and policies, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This website will be updated weekly on a Friday, whether or not there is a change in guidance, unless a more urgent update is necessary. Any requests for clarification can be sent to president@cccbr.org.uk – it will get looked at as soon as possible. 

Guidance Notes

These documents are intended to be succinct and easily readable. They do not contain all the detail that could be put in them but instead focus on the key issues.

Further detail about tower safety and risk assessments can be found on the Tower Operation tab here:
https://cccbr.org.uk/resources/stewardship-and-management/

Updates

Minor update to the guidance, now including a link to the Places of Worship guidance, clarifying that ‘vaccinated’ means having had two jabs (plus the two weeks) and that vaccination status isn’t relevant to the guidance that facemasks should still be worn in certain circumstances. Revised guidance (version 2.1) is linked in Guidance Notes.

Guidance for ringing in England post 19th July has been agreed today with the House of Bishops Recovery Group and can be found here. The Church of England’s own guidance for places of worship has yet to be published but we have seen the section on bellringing and it refers to the Central Council guidance.

There has been no change to guidance this week. Engand is in Stage 3 with the Rule of Six applying indoors.

Mindful of there being a lot of guidance and how things have changed in recent months, we have prepared a one page summary that considers each of the guidance topics and mitigation measures (facemasks, hand sanitiser, rope sharing, rule on numbers, length of time, etc), explains the rationale for it, and what it means for ringing in practice.

It is specific to England but Welsh and Scottish versions will be prepared.

There has been no change to guidance this week. Engand is in Stage 3 with the Rule of Six applying indoors.

Our guidance for this period suggests a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed guidance is here and no longer needs to be considered as draft.

Many have questioned whether the wearing of facemasks is necessary when whole bands have received their second jab. Wearing of facemasks in places of worship in England at least is the law. Government guidance on the wearing of facemasks can be found here (and it refers to other countries). It explicitly includes places of worship.

The exemption to the law most likely to be claimed by ringers is “if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so.”

Bear in mind that wearing a facemask is for the protection of others, particularly the unvaccinated. Young ringers in particular will not have had the benefit of vaccination.

We have published our paper explaining the rationale for using CO2 monitoring as a way of determining whether towers are adequately ventilated and hence remain a safe space should virus levels rise again in the autumn. We have plenty of time to plan for this, so this will start the discussion and enable some towers to conduct some investigations. The paper, written by Dr David Pouncey, is included with the Guidance Notes here.

Meanwhile the England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors. Before then ringing is limited to handbell ringing outdoors, and young ringers’ groups who can ring following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left).

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables more ringing and our guidance suggest a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed draft guidance is here.

Guidance for ringers to assess their own risks has been updated for the current situation with the virus in the community and levels of vaccination. The guidance note “Is it appropriate for an individual to ring” should be read in conjunction with the draft 17 May guidance.

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

The next release of lockdown restrictions in Wales has been accellerated to 3 May, when 15 are allowed to meet indoors. The guidance for England published in draft form last week as been adapted and agreed with the Church in Wales. It is published here.

The England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors. Before then ringing is limited to handbell ringing outdoors, and young ringers’ groups who can ring following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left).

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables more ringing and our guidance suggest a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed draft guidance is here.

Guidance for ringers to assess their own risks has been updated for the current situation with the virus in the community and levels of vaccination. The guidance note “Is it appropriate for an individual to ring” should be read in conjunction with the draft 17 May guidance.

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

Additional Guidance

  • The UK Government guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic can be found via this link

Useful Links

The latest guidance from the Church of England is available on their website.

The latest guidance from the Church in Wales is available on their website

The latest guidance from the Scottish Episcopal Church is available on their website

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

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