Guidance for Friends re Coronavirus from Winchmore Hill Quakers Premises Committee

13 March 2020

Dear Friend,

Coronavirus and the Meeting

We are writing to you to let you know what we can do to keep ourselves and the Meeting House as safe and hygienic as possible during the coronavirus outbreak.  This guidance is based on advice from Friends House and from the government.  The “Updated Guidance for Quaker meetings on Coronavirus” from Friends House dated 13th March 2020 is also being emailed to you as a separate document.

Hand washing – we are providing hand washing facilities as usual, now with anti-bacterial soap, and we will also get hand sanitizing gel to put in the rooms as soon as supplies become available again.  We should all wash our hands thoroughly on arrival at the Meeting House and before leaving, and as necessary while we are there.

Washing up – When we are drying up we should use the kitchen roll provided instead of the usual cotton towels, and use paper towels for drying hands.

Handshaking – Elders have recommended that for the duration of the epidemic we will not shake hands when arriving on Sunday morning or at the end of Meeting for Worship.  It is suggested that we smile or bump elbows.

Coughs and sneezes – we are providing boxes of tissues and are putting a pedal bin in each room.  The latest advice from Friends House, based on government guidance, is: “If someone has a new and persistent cough lasting at least four hours, or has a temperature of 37.8°C or above, they should stay at home (self-isolate) for seven days”.  Please let an Elder or Overseer, or a member of your Threads group, know if you are not well so we can keep in touch and do what we can to provide practical help if it is needed.

Travel from abroad – If you are returning from overseas travel in one of the countries listed by the government as high risk, please let an Elder or Overseer and do not come to the Meeting House for two weeks after your return.

In case of infection – Please let an Elder or Overseer know as soon as possible if you are diagnosed with coronavirus.  We shall try to support you in any way possible.

Cleaning – Our cleaner John Dale is using disinfectant on all surfaces including taps, door handles and bin lids.

We hope that it will not become necessary to close the Meeting House for worship and for other activities.  We will follow guidance from the government on this.  If you can think of anything else we can do, or if you have any queries, please let us know.  We have between us great resources and many ways to uphold each other.

As well as sending this letter to Friends, we have emailed our hirers with similar guidance, and have had conversations with those who work for us about keeping safe and healthy.

In love and Friendship,
Bob Newsom

On behalf of Premises Committee

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