COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government: On 14 September the government updated its guidance to reflect changes to upcoming NHS Test and Trace rules and restrictions on social groups gatherings.

Community centres, village halls, and other multi-use community facilities support a wide range of local activity. However, their communal nature also makes them places that are vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

This information is for those managing multi-use community facilities.

Managers of community facilities will have discretion over when they consider it safe to open for any activity permitted by legislation and may decide to remain closed if they are not able to safely follow the advice in the relevant guidance, to make the space COVID-19 secure.

Many community facilities are also workplaces and those responsible for the premises should therefore be aware of their responsibilities as employers. The government is clear that no one is obliged to work in an unsafe workplace.

Organisations also have a duty of care to volunteers to ensure as far as reasonably practicable they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety and are afforded the same level of protection as employees and the self-employed.

Each community facility should take account of its size , type of activities it hosts, its users, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.

For example charities are governed by their trustee board who are ultimately responsible for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run. The essential trustee guidance explains the responsibility of a trustee.

The charity commission also has guidance on how to manage risks in your charity.

We recommend that you use charity commission guidance if you are a registered or unregistered charity alongside the government’s guidance to make sure your decisions about use of the community facility comply with government and the regulator’s requirements.

The contents of the government guidance include:

  • Introduction
  • Core principles for safely reopening community facilities
  • Permitted activities in multi-use community facilities: signposting to relevant guidance
  • Enforcement

The government’s guidance can be found here.