Coronavirus: Latest information and advice 

Attending places of worship following introduction of local restrictions

  • 13 October 2020
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New COVID-19 restrictions have been announced for Walsall residents as a result of the government’s new local alert system. These restrictions will come into effect tomorrow, Wednesday 14 October.  

Walsall has been placed in the alert level ‘high as our infection rates are above 100 per 100,000 people. Due to the high rate in the number of COVID-19 cases, everyone in Walsall is being asked to adhere to guidance on reducing the spread of the virus.   
 
Places of worship can still stay open and welcome people for a service in a high alert level area but the premises should be operated in a COVID-secure manner. You can further help to prevent spread of the virus by ensuring that, at your place of worship, the instructions below are followed carefully: 
 
•    From midnight tonight, Tuesday 13 October (one minute after midnight Wednesday 14 October) Walsall residents must not meet with other households indoors in any setting, including places of worship unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. 
 
•    All worshippers from different households or support bubbles must maintain a 2-metre distance from each other.  
 
•    All faith settings to restrict gatherings at a wedding or equivalent ceremony and wedding receptions up to a maximum of 15 people – The organiser must have carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus. The Health and Safety Executive has more information and a generic template to follow.
 
•    All faith settings to restrict gatherings at a funeral to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked commemorative events before and after the funeral are permitted with up to 15 people present (not to take place in private houses). 
 
•    No other activities are permitted to take place in a faith setting.  
 
•    People aged 70 and above and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and had previously been told to shield should not meet with people indoors in any setting unless they are part of a single household or support bubble. They should seriously consider not attending communal prayers and worship at this time as these groups are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness if infected.  
 
•    Face coverings must be worn by law. Please be mindful that there are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups to not wear a face covering in these settings.  Relevant guidance on face coverings is available at on the UK government website.
 
•    Venues should assist the test and trace service by keeping a temporary record of visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your place of worship, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed for contact tracing and the investigation of local outbreaks. Venues should also create and display official NHS QR code posters so that those with the app can scan in if they choose
 
•    More information can be found in the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship
 
Now more than ever we need your help to avoid further restrictions in Walsall.  

•    If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you must self-isolate for 10 days and book a test. Remember that if you develop symptoms, everyone in your household and support bubble will also need to self-isolate for 14 days.  
•    Avoid any unnecessary interaction with people from outside your household.  
•    When going out, wear a face covering and keep 2 metres apart.  
•    Don’t visit anyone’s house unless essential.  
 
There is now a legal duty on all those with a positive COVID-19 test—or those identified by NHS test and trace as a ‘close contact’ of those with a positive COVID-19 test—to self-isolate. Walsall residents on a low income who are unable to work while they are self-isolating because they cannot work from home are able to submit a claim for the new Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. 
 
In addition any other households who have been affected by the coronavirus, Walsall Council has put support in place to help with a loss or reduction in earnings/income which may affect a households ability to pay their bills.
 

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