Also available in pdf: Vine Church COVID-19 Action Plan v2 240720
From 26 April all parts of Scotland will move to level 3. For places of worship the key changes are:
People at higher risk/shielding
Certain groups of people are at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19. Guidance on individuals who fall into this higher risk group can be found on the NHS Inform website, and government advice is available on how to keep themselves safe at each protection level.
People in this higher risk group are advised to avoid indoor public spaces, including places of worship, in any area with protection level 3 or 4. If someone is part of a higher risk or extremely high risk group and wishes to attend a place of worship in person at this time, they should seriously consider whether to do so in line with the public health advice applicable to them and available on NHS Inform.
Singing, chanting and the playing of instruments
Congregational singing, both indoors and outdoors, should continue to be avoided at this time.
Scientific studies indicate that it is the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events that involve singing and the playing of wind and brass instruments, that is likely to create risk.
Where it is essential to an act of worship for an individual to sing or chant indoors, one individual may do so behind a plexiglass screen without the need for a face covering to be worn. Any screen used should be cleaned regularly and extended physical distancing should be considered.
Other instruments that do not require breath to operate may be played (for example, church organs). Instruments used by more than one person should be cleaned between users.
Restrictions on capacity
Those responsible for places of worship should ensure that they only open to their communities for individual or congregational acts of worship and ceremonies to mark life events if it is safe to do so and in compliance with this guidance. It is their responsibility to put in place measures that will allow them to safely open.
Restrictions must be set by those responsible for the place of worship to limit the number of people permitted to enter at any one time, so that a safe distance of at least 2 metres can be maintained between individuals from different household groups. This should take into account total floor space and likely ‘pinch points’ and busy areas, and the building design and layout. The availability of staff/volunteers to help manage attendance should also be considered.
As a church we have carried out an extensive and thorough COVID-19 risk assessment assisted by Phil Beaumont, Workplace Health and Safety Advice Service.
All of our Staff have completed the training course: “COVID-19 Essentials: Infection Prevention and PPE.”
As a result, we have implemented a number of measures to create a safe working environment that prevents as much as possible the transmission of COVID-19.
The latest Scottish Government guidance states:
“In addition to activity permitted within places of worship during phases 1 and 2 of the route map, from 15 July individuals or household/extended household groups are allowed to enter a place of worship to take part in the following individual or congregational activities:
Individuals must continue to be physically distanced from others not in their household/extended household group when carrying out these activities.
Large public gatherings are still restricted. Places of worship should not admit more than 50 people in total, regardless of their size and usual capacity.
Those responsible for running a place of worship should engage and communicate with worshippers and the wider community to explain what is permitted and what is still prohibited.”[i]
Understanding how COVID-19 is spread and how control measures work is key to preventing infection from occurring.
How is COVID-19 spread? 
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The evidence to date continues to point towards transmission mainly occurring via contact from symptomatic cases. This can occur through respiratory droplets, by direct contact with infected persons, or by contact via contaminated objects and surfaces. Shedding of SARS-CoV-2 is highest early in the course of the disease, particularly within the first 3 days from onset of symptoms. However, there is also some evidence that transmission to others may be possible 1-3 days prior to symptom onset (pre-symptomatic phase) or in individuals that develop infection but don’t develop symptoms (asymptomatic phase) however the evidence for this is still emerging and is very limited. The risk of transmission is highest when there is close contact with an infected person who is symptomatic and this risk 1
There are two routes by which COVID-19 can be spread:
How long can the virus survive on environmental surfaces?
Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours.
We know that similar viruses are transferred to and by people’s hands. Therefore, frequent hand hygiene and regular decontamination of frequently touched environmental and equipment surfaces will help to reduce the risk of infection transmission.
By protecting the potential routes of entry into the body by social distancing, good personal hygiene practices and cleaning regimes we can effectively minimise any potential for infection, even when near someone who may be infected.
The government guidance sets out the guidelines on how this should be achieved. At the heart of the guidance is a 2m rule. The latest advice from the Scottish government on 2nd July 2020 can be read at footnote below. Based on this advice we have taken the decision to keep 2 metres as the optimum default physical distancing requirement for using the Vine Conference Centre. We will also implement a number of mitigating measures as detailed below.
For clients who are using the conference centre for childcare services, the client is responsible for ensuring strict adherence to guidance from the Scottish government and Care Inspectorate with regards to the health and safety measure they must follow. The need for social distancing for children under 12 (0-11) is different.
Social distancing is important to ensure people are distanced from each other and therefore not spreading infection by direct touching. It also allows space for exhaled droplets to dissipate reducing the likelihood of inhaling them.
We have taken all reasonable measures as detailed below:
Below are some of the measures we have implemented as part of our COVID-19 response.
Before entering the Vine Church every person will be asked the following 4 questions. The event organiser is responsible for ensuring someone is at the front door and screens every person coming in and asked the following 4 questions. A sign will be placed outside the building asking no-one to enter until someone first screens them before entering:
If the answer to any of the above is yes, the person will not be permitted to enter the building and must go home.
We will have socially distance place markers on the floor for people queueing up to enter the building to ensure they remain socially distanced.
We have ensured one point of entry to the building and a separate point of exit.
The current Scottish guidelines for places of worship restrict the number of people that are allowed to meet to 50. We have introduced a booking system that people must use to be allowed into the building to ensure the number does not exceed 50. “Places of worship must also take all reasonable measures to only admit people to the premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance. This should be up to a maximum total of 50 people.”
Anyone who is shielding continuing to follow government advice on shielding
We have limited access to places where people need to go with signs and temporary cordons. This is to close off to people areas of the building that are not in use.
Parents or guardians should ensure children maintain physical distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene whilst they remain in any part of the the Vine church grounds or premises. Read general advice on physical distancing for children in wider settings.
To enable this a family can book a playpen in the main hall that their children can remain in during the service. This will be washed with disinfectant after use. The parents can bring toys for their children but these must be removed when the service ends.
All shared facilities for children (play corners, books, toys) have been removed and the café soft play has been closed.
We have introduced enhanced hygiene measures to create a safe working environment, including:
Everyone using our facility and all staff must ensure good hygiene practices to help prevent spread:
The Vine Church will have trained First Aiders on duty. Those practicing First Aid at the Vine will have updated their knowledge on how to respond safely during Coronavirus and will record and document updated training on a record form.
Stay at home guidance for people who have symptoms or have a COVID-19 diagnosis (whether they have symptoms or not), and their household members (household isolation)
It’s very important that you stay at home if you have symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). You should also stay at home if someone you live with or someone in your extended household has symptoms.
Household isolation will help to control the spread of the virus to friends, the wider community and the most vulnerable. See full guidance here.
People who are required to self-isolate should not attend work or the Vine church. This includes:
Individuals who are clinically vulnerable or shielding should follow up to date guidance from NHS Inform, Scottish Government and their workplace.
What action needs to be taken if someone becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID- 19 whilst on site at your organisation?
In preparation, make sure that all staff and individuals in your workplace/organisation, including children and young people, know to inform a member of staff or responsible person if they feel unwell. The following guidance may need to be adapted to ensure a responsible adult is there to support the individual where required.
If the affected person has mild symptoms they should go home as soon as they notice symptoms and follow the guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection. Where possible they should minimise contact with others, e.g. use a private vehicle to go home. If it is not possible to use private transport, then they should be advised to return home quickly and directly, and if possible, wear a face covering in line with Scottish Government guidance. If using public transport, they should try to keep away from other people and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of the elbow.
If they are so unwell that they require an ambulance, phone 999 and let the call handler know you are concerned about COVID-19. Whilst you wait for advice or an ambulance to arrive, try to find somewhere safe for the unwell person to sit which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
If possible and it is safe to do so, find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office or meeting room. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation. The individual should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze, and then put the tissue in the bin. If no bin is available, put the tissue in a bag or pocket for disposing in a bin later. If you don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow. Where possible, a separate bathroom should be designated for the individual to use. Once the individual has left, follow advice below.
Everyone should follow guidance for contacts of cases of COVID-19 when advised to do so. Individuals identified as a contact of a case of COVID-19 should follow advice on self- isolation. For further information, see Scottish Government’s collection of guidance on Test and Protect and NHS Inform.
Asymptomatic individuals living in the same household as someone with symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19 should follow household isolation (stay at home) advice on NHS Inform.
Once a possible case has left the premises, the immediate area occupied by the individual, e.g. desk space, should be cleaned with detergent to remove organic matter such as dust or body fluids then a disinfectant to kill pathogens. This should include any potentially contaminated high contact areas such as door handles, telephones and grab-rails. Once this process has been completed, the area can be put back into use.
Any public areas where a symptomatic or COVID-19 diagnosed individual has only passed through (spent minimal time in), e.g. corridors, and which are not visibly contaminated with any body fluids, do not need to be further decontaminated beyond routine cleaning processes.
Environmental cleaning and disinfection should be undertaken using disposable cloths and mop heads using standard household detergent and disinfectant that are active against viruses and bacteria. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants. All cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of and should be put into waste bags as outlined below. The person responsible for undertaking the cleaning with detergent and disinfectant should be familiar with these processes and procedures.
In the event of a blood and body fluid spillage, keep people away from the area. Use a spill- kit if available, using the personal protective equipment (PPE) within the kit or PPE provided by the employer/organisation, and follow the instructions provided with the spill-kit. If no spill- kit is available, place paper towels over the spill, and seek further advice from the local Health Protection Team.
Occupations should continue to use any PPE required as per local policies (business as usual). If a risk assessment of the setting indicates that a higher level of contamination may be present (for example, where unwell individuals have slept such as a hotel room or boarding school dormitory) or there is visible contamination with body fluids, then the need for additional PPE, such as an apron and gloves, should be considered.
Ensure all waste items that have been in contact with the individual (e.g. used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths) are disposed of securely within disposable bags. When full, the plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. These bags should be stored for 72 hours before being put out for collection. Other general waste can be disposed of as normal.
Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person should be laundered separately where possible. Do not shake dirty laundry, as this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with your usual products, in line with the cleaning guidance above.
If you do not have access to a washing machine in your setting, ensure dirty laundry is kept bagged at home for 72 hours before taking to the launderette.
After handling dirty laundry ensure hand hygiene is carried out.
It is important to note the difference between face masks and face coverings. Face masks are surgical or medical grade masks that are used in health and social care situations. The use of face masks is not currently recommended for the general population. There is no evidence of benefit to support the use of face masks outside healthcare environments. Face coverings are made from cloth or other textiles that cover the mouth and nose, and through which you can breathe (e.g. a scarf).
Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Therefore the wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions. There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms.
A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. Face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context. Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.
Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one. This means telling workers:
In it’s guidance for the safe use of places of worship the Scottish government recommends:
“In enclosed spaces, where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people who are not members of your household, you should wear a face covering.
This will be particularly important where interactions within a 2 metre distance are essential for faith-specific requirements, although these interactions should be avoided.
The wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to other precautions including physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene.”
As a result, we will ask everyone using the church to wear a face covering until they are seated. The seats will be arranged to be at least 2m apart so that people can remove their face covering if they wish, as the risk of close contact is greatly reduced. A face covering should be work before and after the service ends and if going to the toilets.
We are not currently preparing or providing food or beverages until we receive clearer guidance from the Scottish government. As a result, our kitchen and café will remain closed. Our café is sectioned off to provide a corridor for our one-way system.
For each request to use our facility, we have to consider whether it is possible to put in place physical distancing for attendees and employees in order to reduce the risk of transmission.
The maximum number of people we are allowed to have together as of July 2020 is 50 people and this will only take place in our very large main hall.
Each attendee to our services will need to book in advance and there are only 50 places per service.
Every attendee at our services will need to be registered. Please complete the attendee registration form at ….. before coming to the service.
We will inform all attendees before arriving at the church information about behaviours and lowering risks of transmission. We will do this through a mandatory training video, online questions and a signed agreement.
This register of attendees will assist with contact tracing in the event that someone attending the event does have coronavirus.
Here’s a copy of our Test and Protect Collection of Personal Data – Privacy Notice
This is following guidance from the Scottish Government published 14th July 2020. If I have staff or volunteers which use the building I must also provide the Conference Centre Manager with the following details:
“Collecting contact details will be voluntary, but it is important that both premises and individuals cooperate, as it will be crucial to national efforts to suppress the virus. This measure forms part of enabling premises to open safely, minimising the risk of the number of infections increasing, and will reduce the risk of requiring future restrictions.”
Because the Scottish government has decided to pause shielding, those who are at higher risk and those who are shielding can now follow the same guidance as the rest of Scotland. Here is the latest advice from the Scottish government:
We will be pausing shielding from 1 August. This is because the levels of infection in Scotland are low enough for us to do this.
This will mean that you can follow the same guidance as the rest of Scotland. To stay safe, you should strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures. From 1 August, we expect that it will be safe enough for you to:
The information that follows was advice prior to 24.07.2020:
Certain groups are at higher risk from coronavirus, such as those over 70 and those from BAME backgrounds.
The Scottish government advice for those shielding and at higher risk is:
“People at higher risk/shielding
Certain groups of people are at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19. Guidance on individuals who fall into this higher risk group can be found on the NHS Inform website.
People in this higher risk group are advised to stay at home as much as possible. If they do go out they are advised to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.
Places of worship should give special consideration to worshippers, staff members and volunteers who fall within this higher risk group, or who live with people in this group. Faith leaders may wish to discourage this group from attending places of worship during this time, or set aside specific time for them to attend for individual prayer or contemplation.
It is strongly advised that those who are considered to be extremely clinically vulnerable (shielding group) do not attend places of worship to keep themselves safe. Anyone who is shielding should continue to follow government advice on this.
It is recommended that places of worship continue to stream worship or prayer services to continue to reach those individuals who are self-isolating or at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19.”
The higher risk group is:
This group includes people who are:
And those with:
As a result of this guidance it seems that those in this higher risk group or who are shielding should not yet attend service at the Vine church but we will live stream our services and make them available to attend via Zoom also.
As recommended by the Scottish government we have introduced and will ensure the following measures are also adhered to:
The Scottish Government recommends:
“Many venues or sites, especially larger ones, may normally have several contractors and visitors not employed by the event organiser running the venue / site. This presents increased risk of virus transmission if people do not adhere to the same interpretation of rules. To address this risk event organisers should consider limiting venue / site access to those who need to be there for safe operation, ensuring safe working practices and production related activities and implementing a permit to work system for contractors and external visitors who still need to access the site. This would set out requirements for how everyone behaves on a site including entering and leaving the site, clarifying responsibilities for all around maintaining good hygiene and physical distancing.”
As a result we will ask all delivery drivers not to enter our building but to knock on front door or telephone …. Mr Tim Thomson, Vine Conference Centre Manager will go outside to receive all deliveries and ask delivery drivers to sign their own paperwork for their delivery.
No visitors are allowed to enter the building. Signs will be displayed clearly outside our building to ask all visitors not to enter our facility but to knock on main door or telephone…. And a person will go outside to speak to them.
After the service we can consider groups of up to 15 people from 4 other households meeting outside according to current guidance: This could be encouraged either outside the Vine Church at the rear in car park, or in a local park or in a person’s garden. The guidelines below would need to be strictly adhered to:
Meeting others: outdoors
In Phase 3 you can meet and take part in outdoor recreation with people from up to 4 other households at a time. You should meet in small numbers – no more than 15 people in total at a time.
You should stay at least 2 metres apart from people from other households at all times.
You should not meet people from more than 4 other households in total each day (whether indoors and/or outdoors).
Meeting no more than 4 other households each day will limit the risk that someone who had the virus without realising it could infect multiple households on the same day.
Those who are shielding and those at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (including people over 70, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) should strictly follow the physical distancing guidance.
It is particularly important that people who have been advised to shield, continue to follow shielding guidance.
Children and young people (aged 0 to17): outdoors
The same rules apply to children as adults, except:
 “Consistent with the advice set out from the Advisory Group above we will retain 2 metres as the default physical distancing requirement for Phase 3, as it has been in previous phases of the Route Map. We are, however, intending to make exceptions to this 2 metre requirement for a limited number of sectors and settings, following agreement of appropriate and necessary mitigating measures. These exceptions would take into account the wider harms caused by the 2 metre rule – to broader health, the economy and society – as well as transmission risk, particularly in known high-transmission risk settings. In such sectors and settings where the exception applies, individual workplaces, premises or settings may be permitted to move to 1 metre distancing only where agreed risk mitigation measures are in place. Potential illustrative examples are set out below.” https://www.gov.scot/publications/covid-19-scotlands-route-map-through-out-crisis-update-approach-physical-distancing-light-advice-scottish-government-covid-19-advisory-group/pages/2/
 In addition to this we are also introducing two new measures to come into effect on 3 July for children and young people that should allow significant improvements to their quality of life, particularly during the school holidays.
 https://blog.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk/what-can-i-do-as-a-first-aider-at-work-or-in-public-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak See also “Vine Church and Conference Centre Exit Lockdown and Return to Work Report” ADDENDUM IV – COVID-19 Guidance for First Aiders
Lots of people attend church here every Sunday. We meet at 10am..
Contact us to find out more about the Vine Church. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.
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