The Central Council has issued new guidance which many of you will have already seen, setting out its recommendations for ringing as lockdown eases.
The next threshold will be on 17th May, when (provided the Government’s key tests are met) meeting indoors will be permitted again.
The guidance from CCCBR is as follows:
- Rule of Six applies indoors – ringing sessions should be arranged for six people
- Hands – Space – Face rules apply – face coverings, hand sanitising between ringing, 1m plus mitigations when ringing
- Lateral Flow Tests – twice weekly, preferably timed for days of any sustained ringing
- Consider your own personal risk
- Restrict ringing time to 45 minutes whilst maintaining good tower ventilation
Lateral flow tests are available for order, or can be picked up from pharmacies – further details are available via this link.
There are two more detailed pieces of guidance which I would advise tower captains and other ringers to read – these include a more detailed explanation of the guidance, and some notes on personal risk of infection (both to yourself but also to others). Please discuss these with your local band, incumbent and churchwarden if necessary, so that you can come to an agreement by mutual consensus.
My personal interpretation is that this guidance allows for pre-arranged Sunday service ringing and practices, which is exciting as it is the furthest we’ve come in over a year. However, because of the requirement to maintain at least one metre from each other, teaching bell handling would not be accommodated within this guidance (unless it is by 2 members of the same family or support bubble). Judgement needs to be exercised over less experienced ringers returning to ringing – in an emergency they can and should be rescued if they unexpectedly lose control, but can’t require close ongoing supervision, so if it’s likely that you might need to step in and physically help a ringer, it may be better that they delay a return to ringing until government restrictions are lifted further.
Getting all of this right is key to a managed and safe return to ringing. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but please contact me if a discussion on how to interpret parts of this would be helpful.