This second guidance note in a set of six considers how we make bell towers and ringing environments as safe as possible. It should be considered in conjunction with the church’s own risk assessments and Health and Safety Policies.
Overall Guidance is still to:
- Be meticulous in our hand hygiene
- Maintain social distancing
- Reduce the number of people with whom we interact
Also follow the usual church and tower risk assessment and Health & Safety policies
Is your tower able to provide a safe place for ringing?
- Check first that the bells and tower are in a safe mechanical condition to ring (this is normally done by the steeple keeper or equivalent, but should always be done by someone with appropriate knowledge and experience)
- Limit the amount of ringing in a session to no more than 15 minutes, and leave 48 hours before the next session
- Restrict the number of ringers (just enough to ring) and ensure that they will not need assistance. The one exception to this is if a young ringer needs a parent to help them.
- Make sure bells can be rung which are 2 metres apart. Where ropes fall in a straight line then 1.5m will be sufficient distance so long as ringers remain facing forwards into the centre of the ringing circle and the ringers opposite are at least 2m away. So the middle rope of a line of three can be 1.5m from the ropes either side, rather than 2m.
- Limit the number of things that can harbour the virus and that different people may touch – put away or mark off “clutter” that is not needed for ringing
- Maintain good ventilation – air changes are important in reducing the risk of virus transmission
- Don’t have refreshments in the tower
- Clean all surfaces in particular “touch points” regularly