COVID UPDATE: Multi-Use Community Centres
On Monday 10 August, the requirement that multi-use community centres should remain closed unless providing an essential voluntary service or aCommunity Centre Exercise public service at the request of Welsh Minsters or the Local Authority was removed.
This means that you no longer need to seek permission to open the building for these services. Although a multi-use community centre can now open you must still take into account the law with regard to indoor gatherings. The Regulations in Wales say that nobody, without a reasonable excuse, can gather in premises indoors with anyone else apart from
(i) the members of their household, (ii) their carer, or (iii) a person they are providing care to.
There are a number of situations which are defined as ‘reasonable excuses’. Not all of the reasonable excuses will be appropriate for a multi-use community centre but they include:
- blood donation sessions
- to work or provide voluntary or charitable services;
- to access or receive public services
- to access childcare or participate in supervised activities for children;
- to exercise with others, in a gathering of no more than 30 people.
The full list of reasonable excuses can be checked in Regulation 14 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2020, as amended.
Any activities at a multi-use community centre that fall within any of the points above can now take place without needing permission. Unfortunately, any activities that do not fit within the reasonable excuses cannot resume which means that currently social groups including choirs are not permitted. Just because a multi-use community centre can open and that an indoor gathering would be permitted this does not in itself mean that the group or class should take place. A risk assessment must be carried out by the management of the multi-use community centre to make sure that all the risks related to the access and usage of the building have been identified.
The Health & Safety Executive have a Risk Assessment template that you may find helpful available at this link:
Finally, you should also ensure that the person responsible for organising each group or class also carried out a risk assessment in relation to the risks involved with their activities in your building. It would be good practice to review the risk assessment of your users before giving permission for them to resume in your building as inappropriate use of your facilities could impact on your on your risk assessment and more importantly could cause reputational damage should you be linked to the source of an outbreak.