Community Buildings Information - COVID-19

Community Buildings Information - COVID-19

 

VILLAGE HALLS AND COMMUNITY BUILDINGS

Village Hall Management Committees running charitable halls must act in the best interest of the hall charity and have a duty of care in providing a safe facility for the community to use.

Previous guidance on social distancing has already led many hirers to cancel/postpone bookings. However, following Government guidance, some halls have closed. Some remain open for the provision of essential services.

Precautions include:

  • Take notice of the Government and Public Health England websites and keep up to date with the ongoing situation.
  • Keep the Hall very clean and ensure that handwashing facilities, soap and/or hand sanitiser are available, paper towels are available and hand driers are working efficiently. Avoid the use of hand towels for the time being. Government cleaning guidance
  • Encourage everyone to wash / sanitise their hands regularly. Put up notices about hand cleaning, particularly in toilets and kitchen areas and a poster on the front door asking anyone with Coronavirus symptoms not to come into the building. Links for posters: Catch it bin it kill it, NHS hand cleaning, Public Health England posters
  • Advise hirers that they are expected to act responsibly and take notice of Government and Public Health England advice.
  • Regarding the cancellation of bookings, follow the steps in the hall hire agreement and conditions of hire.
  • Review the hall’s insurance policy and contact insurer to discuss cover regarding cancellation of activities in the event of the hall having to close.

 

Norris & Fisher Insurance Brokers Ltd. has issued the following statement:

Coronavirus Advice for Village Halls:

We have received a number of enquiries as to whether Village Halls would be insured should they be forced to cancel activities or if hirers cancel their bookings owing to COVID-19. The Business Interruption cover under the policy would not provide cover for this type of loss so there is no insurance for loss of earnings. If there were to be a pandemic it would be beyond the capability of insurers to pay for such losses.

Some of our halls have asked their hirers to ensure that, if one of their members is ill, they should not attend the Hall. Should a visitor have been in contact with anyone suffering from the virus they should self-isolate. However, if an outbreak of COVID-19 were to be traced to the Hall it would not be possible for you to be held liable. In addition, it may be best to ensure you have a good supply of soap, hand sanitisers and paper towels.

 

Allied Westminster Insurance Services Ltd. has issued the following:

17 March 2020

Coronavirus and Village Halls:

Loss of revenue cover comes into force only after damage to property caused by an insured peril. It is designed to cover loss of income when the hall is closed for a period of time in order for repairs to be carried out. Unfortunately, if the hall has to be closed due to a breakout of the virus, no property damage has occurred so there is no business interruption cover in place.

Property insurers would not cover closure due to pandemic.

 

Protecting Your Village/Community Hall at this time:

  • Halls may become unoccupied or operate on a significantly reduced level, and this increases the risk of losses.

  • If your hall is running on a significantly reduced basis, and especially unoccupied due to the pandemic, letting your insurers know, and keeping them informed of any developments, is essential.

  • It is essential that you let your insurer or policy administrator have a second and ideally third contact in the event of an insurable loss, allowing them to process the claim with an authorised and recognised person (GDPR!)

  • This will help speed any claims and avoid hold-ups. This is especially important right now when key contacts may suffer as a result of the illness.

  • There are some considerations that should be kept in mind to protect their assets and people:

  • Risk assessments must be carried out on the changing risk/lack of supervision in place

  • Heating left ‘ticking-over’ but other critical services powered down if not required unless to support protection or detection systems

  • All external areas must be clear of waste and combustible materials

  • Consider waste build-up and the controls needed if waste collection services are affected

  • All fire protection, detection, and security systems to remain active and monitored remotely where possible

  • Maintenance on all protection and/or detection systems (where in place) must be a priority to protect the property

  • All physical security and locking devices are working and in place

  • There are no leaking fluids or spill

  • Sources and Useful Links:

  • Q&A on Coronaviruses – World Health Organization

  • Managing Epidemics: Key facts about major deadly diseases – World Health Organization

  • Pandemic Flu – Workplace Guidance – Health & Safety Executive

 

Village Hall business continuity:

  • Keep up to date with the latest Government and Charity Commission guidance

  • Plan for trustees to take on additional responsibilities in the event of others being unwell or self-isolated, e.g. Chairperson; Treasurer; Signatories; Keyholder; Bookings secretary etc.

  • Consider meeting alternatives e.g. Skype. WhatsApp, Facetime.

  • Review existing hire agreements and consider the financial impact of the cancellation of bookings and possible hall closure.

  • Speak to your funders about the possible impact of cancelling or delaying project activities which are part of funding agreements.

  • Plan for how the hall will be cleaned / maintained in the event of the cleaner / caretaker being unwell or self-isolated.

The Charity Commission has issued guidance for charities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and has general guidance on charities and risk management

The Government has issued guidance for employers and businesses

 

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The Gateway, 89 Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1SR Tel: 01925 246880
Registered in England & Wales as a Registered Charity 1129343
and as Company Limited by Guarantee No:6805818

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