Social Distancing Guidelines

Brighton Local Meeting 

Reopening our Meeting House for Meeting for Worship 

Guidance Document for attending Meeting for Worship in person and online (Blended Meeting)

This document has been created by representatives of our Finance and Property Committee, Elders, Overseers, and Welcomers in conjunction with Terry, as Warden and Covid Co-ordinator.  It is in keeping with current government and BYM guidance. Please assist us by reading and following the guidance below.

1.  Safety- Attend only if you are confident you are not suffering from Covid, or have not been in contact with someone who has in the last 14 days. If you have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone who had the virus DO NOT ATTEND in person. Anyone with a cough or a temperature may not be allowed in. Friends are asked to consider their own health and whether they feel it is safe for them to attend in person, especially if you belong to a vulnerable group. You are of course welcome to attend online (see below).

2. Hygiene- Please wash your hands before coming to meeting; use the hand sanitizer provided; be careful to contain and take away any used hankies or tissues; wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after using the toilet. The hand sanitiser in the entrance lobby is foot-operated.

3. Face coverings - Friends are advised that the wearing of face coverings is mandatory at all times in the Meeting House, unless a person is exempt for health reasons.

4. Numbers for attenders in person will be restricted to 30, at least initially. If all goes well we may revise this at a later date. 

5. Online Participation - In order to facilitate the participation of those attending online, the chairs will be arranged in a horseshoe shape, facing the large screen, with the microphone on the table. Friends who Minister in the in-person Meeting will be asked to go up to the table and speak into the microphone, so that they can be heard by those participating online as well as by those present in the Meeting Room. (This system has already been shown to work well in the funeral and the Memorial Meeting that have been held in our Meeting House since September).

6. Rooms - Only the Meeting Room will be open. All other rooms or areas bar the toilets will be out of bounds, including the library and kitchen. 

7. Social Distancing- We will be observing 2m’s social distancing within the Meeting House or any queue into the Meeting House. We have also introduced a one-way system in and out of the building: of our two front doors, the one on the right is now for entrance and the one on the left, now brought back into use, is for exit. These are signed. The back door will be latched and so not openable from the outside. Friends are asked not to use the side door out of the Meeting Room, unless you are mobility-impaired and need to use the disabled toilet.

8.Attendance - If you wish to attend in person, email the office by 5.30 pm on the Friday before the Sunday. The Welcomer will have a list of who has booked a place, and if your name is not on that list you will not be admitted.  We will treat all those who come in person as “singles”, but if you want to come with a spouse or other person, let us know when you tell us you are coming and we will arrange chairs in a pair for you. We will not arrange for “social bubbles”.

For online attendance, this will continue as before. Christine Habgood will continue to co-ordinate a rota of people to host the meetings, and the invitation will be sent out some weeks ahead.

9. Children - We have decided, with regret, not to allow children to attend in person, as we cannot make provision for them under current conditions. They can of course attend with their parents/carers online. Helen Ledger is co-ordinating online Children’s Meeting, with Mike Coote and Christine Habgood. This has been very successful, and popular with our children. Contact one of the above-named adults for further information.

10. Reading Material- All leaflets and magazines have been removed, and the library is closed. If you want to borrow a book or other reading material, please liaise with our librarian, Helen Ledger. If you want access to Quaker Faith and Practice, Advices and Queries and /or a Bible, please bring these with you

11. Arriving - Those attending the meeting in person are asked to arrive no earlier than 10.15 (parking arrangements will be as normal); not to congregate outside; and to go straight in via the front door. Wheelchair access will be by the side door as usual. If there is any queue to enter, please keep to two metres distance

There will be a Door Keeper/Welcomer standing in the lobby by the door into the Meeting Room. They will welcome you but not shake your hand. We will have your contact details from your email. If you do get ill after attending a MfW, please let us know at the office email. Please use the foot-operated hand sanitiser in the entrance before going into the Meeting. There will be other hand-operated sanitisers available too.

The Door Keeper/Welcomer will direct people straight into the main Meeting Room.

There is to be NO SOCIALISING or CHATTING in the lobby and no physical greeting; social distancing of 2m’s must always be respected  

Coats, etc must be taken into the room by each individual. 

At 10.30 the Door Keeper/Welcomer will shut the front door, and remain in the lobby to manage any late entries or unexpected guests for 15 minutes.  At 10.45 they will latch the front door and join the Meeting, sitting by the door, as has been our usual practice.

12. The Meeting - The Door Keeper/Welcomer will ensure people are safely seated. As people go into the Meeting Room they will be advised to take the furthest away chair or bench unless a person needs a particular type of seating; in this case they are directed to take the furthest away available of these.

Friends are asked not to chat in the Meeting Room prior to 10.30 to allow Friends to settle into the meeting

Given that most of our Elders are over 70, it is likely that the Elder on duty will be present on Zoom but not in person. Meeting will be undertaken as usual and Elders will conclude the meeting. We will not shake hands and people can use the alternative of their choice

News of Friends and Notices will be given after the Meeting has been concluded. Alan and Sim are most likely to be doing this online.

13. Ending/leaving - Friends can chat in the garden at a 2m distance after the meeting. There will be no coffee, but Friends are welcome to bring their own drink with them.

Friends will leave via the front door marked “Exit” - the right-hand one of the double doors as you leave, the left-hand one as you arrive. The people nearest the doors will leave first and those behind them gradually peel out; the Meeting Room Door Keeper will co-ordinate this. 

14. Toilet Use - Friends are asked to ensure that that social distancing is always maintained, especially if there is a queue forming in the corridor. There should be only one person at a time in the toilets and the doors to the corridor should stay open. Please follow government guidance re handwashing. Soap solution and paper towels are provided.