Running ringing whilst maintain social distancing and reducing Coronavirus transmission is very different from what we are used to. This fourth in a set of six guidance notes gives some ideas to try and do to make it as safe as possible.
- Be sure that your incumbent is content for you to ring – a guidance sheet is available for them
- Liaise with the church in completing the risk assessment for the church and tower (partly specific Covid-19 measures, plus checking the condition of tower and bells after an extended period of them not in use)
- You should keep ringers on the same ropes for an entire ringing session, including ringing up and down
- Least risk is from ringing alternate bells so they can be two metres apart
- All ringers should wear a face coverings to protect each other and reduce aerosol dispersion – this is mandatory in churches in England and Wales Limit the duration of ringing to 15 minutes.
- Remember that ringers should be 2m apart at all time unless they are part of the same household or support bubble. If the ropes of three adjacent bells fall in a straight line, the middle ringer can be a minimum of 1.5m from the ringers on either side, as long as ringers remain facing forwards into the centre of the ringing circle.
- One band per session and one session per day
(preferably leave 48 hours between ringing sessions)
- Don’t let ringers spit on their hands!
- Encourage your band to face the centre not each other
- Avoid shouting, especially from on a box as this will increase transmission
- No standing behind, face to face, or teaching involving physical contact
- Any inexperienced ringer who may need help shouldn’t ring
(the exception is if an experienced family member can help).
- Increase ventilation as much as possible by opening windows, doors, etc. if possible
Your neighbours may have got used to the lack of bells and forgotten when you ring. It may be worth reminding them and letting them know the plan for resumption.
This is an opportunity to keep things simple. In the first instance, ringing again is to provide a service to the Church.
Not all your band will be comfortable about ringing, whatever measures are put in place. Try not to make anyone feel pressured to ring if they do not want to. Likewise, you should not feel under an obligation to ring yourself if you are not comfortable doing so or in a higher risk group.