Yesterday W3RT CVS met with local groups over discussions around the re-opening of venues across Watford and Three Rivers areas. The centre of the debate was heavily focused on the latest news in England, stating that as of Monday 14 September, “nobody should meet socially in groups of more than 6 – and if you do, you will be breaking the law” Department of Health and Social Care and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP.

15 organisations talked at length about 17 different community venues. It was reported that 2/3 of the venues were open or in the process of opening, but all having a significantly reduced capacity. GDPR concerns were raised over the keeping of records, especially how to manage the under 18-year olds. Other points were made on the management of the centres, with suggestions raised such as people having “one way systems” through buildings, the use of only 1 or 2 toilets at any time, kitchens not being used at all or limited to only drinks being made available, and how to manage increased costs as a result of enhanced cleaning procedures.

Colin from Sarratt shared:

“The only problem we have now is whether we stay open after the recent announcement. On GDPR issue and keeping records for 21 days, we’ve actually said to them we are putting the list in an envelope clearly marked with the event, and the envelope will not be opened unless the government want us to forward them.”

Mark Jefferies from Watford and Three Rivers Environmental Health team, on who should be keeping these records, added:

“You could ask, if it’s an external organisation to keep them. But that could be a problem if you found you couldn’t get hold of them.”

It was concluded that any social activities have to be 6 or less total participants at any one time. Where exercise classes are concerned, rules need to now be in place to cover spaces such as enclosed rooms and the need for these to be “made Covid safe” and is supervised by the event manager at all times. Where youth groups were concerned, it was agreed that these activities need to follow a more “specific guidance” and to be steered by the latest updates by NYA website 

Alison May, W3RT CVS Lead, after the debate said:

“The majority of the venue managers have completed risk assessments, and also the groups who book the venues have completed their risk assessments. Venues that are opening, or have opened, have put in “Covid-19 safe” and secure processes including track & trace. So, it is clearly in the groups interest to re-open activities safely, however some end users are a bit reluctant to return, due to their vulnerability. W3RT CVS is here to support the local community so it's important for us to monitor latest guidance, and to help with advice on how groups can move forward.” 

Laura from St John's reformed Church, after the debate added:

“Thank you for organising the Forum and the sample "Risk Assessment & User Group Agreement". In this ever-changing situaion it has been really helpful to have your guideance and share concerns with other venues."

Wendy from Bedmond Village Hall ended on:

“Many thanks for all your help and advice, Alison. A very informative meeting."

If you would like to be invited to join the debates and benefit from additional information, please email [email protected]

For further information and advice about social distancing, please visit the link