Plan B: changes to restrictions
England will move to ‘Plan B’ of the COVID-19 Autumn/Winter Plan, in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.
Church House Westminster remains open as we continue to operate with similar event safety guidance we have put in place from 19 July 2021 to ensure a Covid-secure London event venue for organised events.
Summary of Government announcement
– Face coverings are legally required in public indoor venues, including some types of events and visitor attractions, such as theatres and cinemas.
– Office workers who can work from home should do so. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go to the workplace.
– From 6am on Wednesday 15th December (subject to the approval of Parliament), certain businesses and some events are required by law to check the COVID status of customers, using the NHS COVID Pass. This includes unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, and any event with 10,000 or more attendees. Only customers who are fully vaccinated or have tested negative in the last 48 hours can be admitted (unless they are exempt from these requirements).
Actions we are taking to protect our staff, clients, visitors, and suppliers
- Complete a health and safety risk assessment* for every event which includes risks from COVID-19, which is shared with our teams.
- Provide adequate ventilation. Mechanical ventilation in the building is enabled. There is no recirculation of extracted air via the supply air handling units. Extracted air is 100% vented to atmosphere. Fan coil units will be run at times when temperatures are likely to cause occupant discomfort. We recommend leaving meeting room doors open where possible to aid ventilation. Windows can also be opened, weather permitting.
- Clean more often, especially high-touch areas. Encourage regular hand washing and use of sanitising stations throughout the venue.
- Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms. Any staff contacted by NHS Test & Trace as having close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 10 days in line with Government guidance. Encourage daily lateral flow tests, which can be done in the Harvey Goodwin Suite which operates as an asymptomatic testing site.
- Advise organisers to use MIA Trusted Trace to reduce the risk of COVID at events and the risk of spread after an event. The system complies with government Test and Trace regulations and is recommended by the Meeting Industry Association (MIA) for meetings and events as part of their AIM-secure standard.
- Communicate and train. Keeping our teams, suppliers and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures. The latest news will be published on our website.
*What is included in the risk assessment?
When planning events, our Event Coordinators will discuss the points below in partnership with organisers:
- Travel – Work from home if possible. Alternative ways of travel are available including driving, walking, and cycling, with Church House Westminster providing plenty of secure bike storage. Consider a hybrid or virtual meeting to minimise numbers in the venue.
- Those displaying symptoms should be sent home immediately, the venue (via your Event Coordinator) and organiser should be informed so that the area can be decontaminated and contact tracing be enabled.
- Social distancing – Where possible, stagger event arrival times and aim for travelling to take place outside peak hours. It is recommended that delegates are registered in advance, and not on- site to avoid queues. Capacities of rooms to be revised to allow for some social distancing. Our current recommendation is to allow a maximum of 70% of our normal capacities for events in the short term. Specific events may require more or less space.
- Cleaning and hygiene – keeping the venue clean, providing hand sanitiser and encouraging good hygiene behaviours such as regular handwashing.
- Ventilation – as stated above, a range of effective ventilation options are available within the Grade II building.
- Face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE) – Those who are able to, should wear a face covering when in the public areas of the venue, including corridors and walkways, restrooms and on the stairs unless you are exempt. Face coverings may be removed once you are seated.
- Proof of vaccination or test results – these additional safety measures can be discussed with your Event Coordinator, along with details on how we can support communication in the lead up to the event. The measures are dependent on whether delegates will be using allocated seating, standing or actively moving around for example a team building, reception or networking event.
Attendee code of behavior
Organisers may want to issue a code of conduct to attendees, as part of their pre-event communications. This is particularly useful for large events.
This could include asking attendees to agree that they will:
- Undertake their own health risk assessment, considering if they wish to travel to, and attend, such an event (taking into account their own age and any health conditions or vulnerabilities).
- Follow any relevant guidance on travel, such as the safer travel guidance.
- Check for symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell). If symptoms, however mild, are experienced, they should not attend, and should follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation.
- Not attend the event if they need to self-isolate, for example because they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or because they have had a positive test.
- If organisers choose to use the NHS COVID Pass at your event, demonstrate their COVID-19 status through vaccination, testing or natural immunity, as a condition of entry.
- Adhere to any relevant COVID-19 safety measures in place at the event, including observing directions given by our teams.
- Adhere to any other relevant behaviours identified through your risk assessment or usual event planning.
Updated 13 December 2021. Please note that as circumstances and the recommendations provided by the Government change, this page will be reviewed and updated as necessary.