Risk Assessment: Reopening following Coronavirus Shutdown

Covid Secure Public Worship continues at Providence. We have put in place measures for Social Distancing, in line with Government guidelines and in view of our large Chapel. We welcome visitors, and want all to feel confident to join us in Worship.  More Details >> 

During the further lockdown announced from 5 November, all our services will be broadcast online, God willing.  
Online Sunday school can be found here, and our Sunday services and alternate Thursday Bible Study can be found on YouTube.

Deaf or hard of hearing? Many of our sermons are now live streamed in British Sign Language. More Details >>

Assessment of Risk: Re-opening following Coronavirus Shutdown

The purpose of this Assessment is:- 

  1. To prevent the spread of Covid 19 by reducing or controlling potential risks (as listed below)
  2. To promote the safety of individuals attending Providence Chapel
  3. To enable those attending to feel safe and confident with the arrangements
  4. To comply with government guidelines for places of worship
Potential Risks:

1) Worshippers coming into contact with Coronavirus Sufferers

  • Persons should not attend the chapel if they are suffering from raised temperature, new persistent cough, loss of taste or smell or other respiratory infection or if they are contacts of anybody with Coronavirus.The services will continue to be livestreamed for those who are unwell, vulnerable or in a household that is self-isolating.
  • A list of persons attending worship will be kept (in line with GDPR principles) for 21 days as requested by the public health tracing service. A logbook will be provided near the keyholders’ entrance to the chapel where all visits to the building for other purposes should be recorded.
  • Congestion will be avoided in the foyer or aisles. There will be door stewards who will direct each household to a seat. It may be necessary to wait in a socially distanced queue on the gravel path within the chapel grounds if the door stewards are busy.
  • A one-way system will operate to avoid the need to pass other people. Only one outer door will be open on arrival. Screens will be in place across the foyer. The door stewards will direct people to seats in accordance with the one-way system. The congregation will leave by the opposite door. [1]
  • To avoid the need for queuing in restricted spaces the toilets in the entrance foyer will not be used. Door stewards can give directions to the individual toilets at the rear of the chapel, one of which is designed for people with disabilities.
  • A 2-metre social distancing rule will be observed during the services wherever possible, and, in order to further mitigate risk there will be no seating face to face. It will not be possible to use all seats. Those which cannot be used will be clearly cordoned off.
  • The resultant maximum capacity of the main sanctuary is estimated to be 110-130 (though this is dependent on the overall number of households present, with larger households expanding the estimated capacity.)
  • To enable optimum seat use, seats will be allocated at each service and it may be necessary to sit in a different place on each occasion. Households will be asked to sit together.
  • If children need to leave the service they should be taken by an adult from their Household to the upstairs schoolroom where social distancing should be observed. A relay of the service will be provided.

2.) Cross-contamination from Surfaces

  • Hand sanitiser will be provided by the door stewards to be used by every person on entering and leaving the chapel.
  • Chapel hymnbooks and Bibles will no longer be available for use. There will be printed hymn sheets for each service which individuals should pick up for themselves and remove after the service. Worshippers are welcome to bring their own Bibles provided they take them home after each service.
  • All personal belongings will need to be removed from seats after the service.
  • Chapel writing materials, colouring books and toys will not be available during the current restrictions.
  • The kitchen will be out of bounds under the current restrictions.
  • In accordance with government guidelines no food or drink will be allowed in the services. Sweets will not be distributed to children during this pandemic.
  • Gloves and wipes will be provided so the rear toilets can be cleaned after each use.  Please could adults from the same household escort children under 12 to ensure this is carried out.
  • Pew ledges, toilets, door handles and other contamination points will be cleaned after each service. Named people will have the responsibility for each section.
  • Only emergency visits should be made to the building on Mondays or Tuesdays to enable the building to be “quarantined” after the Sunday worship. On weeks where a Thursday service takes place at the chapel, best practice would be for any routine cleaning to take place on Friday or Saturday. (Please discuss in advance with the person responsible for the rota if this presents a problem.)

3.) Enhanced Airborne Transmission of the Virus

  • With respect to public hymn singing it is proposed to allow singing in a low voice [2] with a face covering in place. This will however be monitored and kept under regular review.
  • Face coverings must be worn by those who are not exempt, at all times inside the building or whilst outside on the chapel premises. The face covering should continue to be worn during worship.

This Risk Assessment will be subject to continuous review in the light of prevailing guidelines and local circumstances and with expected learning and improvements included. It is hoped that these arrangements will only be necessary for a short period and that there will be a gradual lifting of the restrictions.

[1] In emergency this instruction will be superseded by the need to leave by the nearest available fire exit.

[2] Bristol Univ. Study Report:  https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2020/august/perfomsing-study.html

The Pastor and Church Officers
Providence Baptist Chapel Bedford
5th September 2020

What to expect at the chapel

A short video explaining the measures in place at Providence Baptist Chapel: