We are very aware that under normal circumstances church halls play a valuable role in the community and are also often an important source of revenue for PCCs.
However, in the current situation, we are issuing guidance to PCCs on how church halls should be used.
In considering the use of your hall during the present crisis, it is helpful to keep in mind two key questions:
- What are the key services, groups and activities we need to keep open, which will keep people out of crisis support and hospitals?
- How can we maintain those services during the challenges which are to come?
Our guidance is therefore that if an activity in your church hall is likely to help keep people out of crisis and therefore reduce the burden on the NHS, there is a good case for it to continue, subject to strict observance of official guidance about social distancing and hygiene. Examples might include:
- community hubs run in partnership with local authorities;
- meetings of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous.
If however an activity in your church hall is more likely simply to provide an opportunity for infection through social contact, and therefore potentially add to the burdens on the NHS, our strong guidance is that such activities should be cancelled forthwith. This will include most activities which usually happen in church halls.
This guidance applies regardless of whether the activity is run by the PCC itself, or by an external hirer.
This guidance does not apply where a hall is let exclusively to one tenant on a fixed term lease and the PCC are the landlord.