We have now moved to step 4 of the government Lockdown Easing Road Map.
Essentially this means there will be no limits on how many people can meet indoors or outdoors however businesses can and will impose their own safety measures which they will require customers to follow.
The Government is urging caution and whilst the cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious and key protection measures should be kept in place.
As u3as resume interest groups, sports, physical meetings and other activities it is advisable to remember to follow the key steps for managing transmission levels:
- check for covid symptons
- isolate if you have symptoms or suspect transmission
- get tested
It is 'expected and recommended' that people wear face masks in crowded public settings such as on public transport (unless exempt). It is recommended that you limit the number of people you meet with at any time.
Check with any venue, premises or location you intend to use for the measures they will require for safe use and inform your group participants of these. Conduct you own risk assessment, considering where the group meet, any local group factors of significance and the nature of the activity you intend to do. Hazard levels will vary as will the complexity of the assessment required. In most sit down/discussion groups the risk levels will be low therefore good ventilation, hand and hygine, wearing face masks when moving around, could suffice. Meanwhile groups playing contact sports or sharing equipment may wish to consider additional mitigation measures which for example would be provided by National Governing Bodies for sports activities.
To summarise the u3a procedure for resuming an activity or interest group is as follows:-
1. Inform your committee of your plans and preparations for resuming (this could be through your groups convenor but it is good practice to keep your committee informed at this time)
2. Where appropriate download and follow a relevant Risk Assessment from a National Governing Body for your sporting activity or use an appropriate u3a risk assessment template for your activity.
3. Inform your members of what to expect and how to prepare for returning
4. Ask members to self assess for symptoms before attending. For some activities group leaders may decide to ask members to check in using the NHS App to scan their QR code or where required continue to keep a register of participants for 21 days after the activity for Track and Trace purposes.
What do we do if a member is not having the vaccine for health or personal reasons?
At present, there is no mandate from the Government that people must have the vaccine therefore the Trust will not be issuing any requirements that members must have the vaccine or that they can’t take part in activities without having had their vaccines.
When can u3a interest groups resume face to face meetings indoors?
There are no legal restrictions on the numbers who can meet indoors or outdoors although venues and premises where interest groups are run may want to continue to adopt certain safety measures such as mask wearing and social distancing, track and trace.
Can a venue impose a requirement that all participants using the venue have a clear Covid test before using the facilities?
Yes the venue can undertake a health and safety risk assessment and introduce measures that they feel will reduce the risk of transmission of Covid and include this as a requirement. The position would be different if the owner/operator of the venue only permitted participants who had been vaccinated. This would not comply with equality of access.
Why should we carry out a risk assessment?
As a Group Leader you have a responsibility to ensure that your activities are run in as safe and appropriate a manner as possible. You can do this by thinking about health and safety and by carrying out risk assessments. Although you are covered by u3a’s public liability insurance, your claim may be invalid if you have not done a risk assessment.
A risk assessment ensures that you have thought about all the possible dangers and hazards beforehand, and done as much as you can to prevent them. It does not guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but it should reduce the chance of problems occurring.
If anything does go wrong, a risk assessment will show that you have done your best to predict and remove any risks.