Risk assessment for safe use of church during Covd-19 pandemic



St Mary’s Buriton


Assessor’s name:

W Normington


Date completed:

1 October 2020


Review date:

1 December 2020




Area of Focus

Controls required

Additional information

Action by whom?

Completed – date and name

Access to church buildings for clergy for purposes of private prayer and/or livestreaming



One point of entry to the church building clearly identified and separate from public entry if possible

West Door



A suitable lone working policy has been consulted if relevant.




Buildings have been aired before use.

Before each service or other act of worship

JB, CWs, Sides


Check for animal waste and general cleanliness.




Ensure water systems are flushed through before use.


As required



Switch on and check electrical and heating systems if needed. Commission system checks as necessary.

Checked before services. Checks as required

jB, CWs, Sides


Holy water stoups and the font are empty.

Check weekly



Ensure safe use of equipment needed for livestreaming: avoid exceeding safe load on sockets, cables/tripod causing trip hazard

Check before use

JB and those involved in set up.


Deciding whether to open to the public

Discuss with nearby venues and businesses to ensure that the timing and practical arrangements for using the church are compatible.

Already done



Update your website, A Church Near You, and any relevant social media.

Website regularly updated

Website Manager


Consider if a booking system is needed, whether for general access or for specific events/services

Booking system required for 10am & some other services



If opening to tourists consider applying for the Visit Britain ‘Good to Go’ standard mark

Under consideration



Preparation of the Church for access by members of the public for any permitted purposes, including worship and tourism

Confirm that all steps (above) for access by clergy have been carried out before anyone else accesses the building.




Review CofE guide on cleaning church buildings. Complete the ‘cleaning’ section of this risk assessment (below).




Choose one point of entry into the church to manage flow of people and indicate this with notices, keeping emergency exits available at all times. Where possible use a different exit.

West door to be used for entrance and exit, unless wheelchair access required via  South Door

JB, CWs. Sides


Make any temporary arrangements for people to wait or queue outside the building (taking into account any consequential risks arising from people gathering outside).

Notices asking people not to congregate inside or outside the entrance porch  and  respect the rule of 6. Sides to encourage movement out of church.

JB, Sides


Where possible, doors and windows should be opened temporarily to improve ventilation.

Whenever possible, weather permitting



Remove Bibles/literature/hymn books/leaflets




Cordon off or remove from public access any devotional objects or items (if they are liable to be touched or closely breathed on)




Consider if pew cushions/kneelers need to be removed as per government guidance




Remove or isolate children’s resources and play areas

Suspended. Children attending to stay in pews with parent(s)



Walk through the church to plan for physical distancing in seats, aisles, at the altar rail, including safe flow of visitors. Remember 2m in all directions from each person (or 1m with risk mitigation if absolutely necessary).   

Already done and arrangements for staggered seating are in place.



Clearly mark out seating areas including exclusion zones to maintain distancing.

Already in place



Clearly mark out flow of movement for people entering and leaving the building to maintain physical distancing requirements.

Already in place



Limit access to places were the public does not need go, maybe with a temporary cordon in needed.

Already in place for main body of church.  Bellringers limited in number and access the bellringing chamber only


JB, CWs, Tower Captain

Determine placement of hand sanitisers available for visitors to use.

At entrance on both sides. Sanitiser to be topped up as necessary



Determine if temporary changes are needed to the building to facilitate social distancing




Put up notices to remind visitors about important safe practices e.g. no physical contact, practice hand washing etc.

Notices at entrance and on A Board. To be kept updated in line with any new guidance



Ensure high-risk surfaces and touch points have been wiped with appropriate sanitiser spray or disposable wipes

Weekly deep clean of church plus wipe down of pews and touch points e.g. door handles after each service if 72 hours has not elapsed. Users (e.g. 0fficiant, reader and intercessor) to wipe down reading stand after each use. Bellringers will wipe down surfaces in ringing chamber

JB, EB, Tower Captain


Check that handwashing facilities have adequate soap provision and paper towels, and a bin for the paper towels.




Where there are toilet facilities, ensure an adequate supply of soap and disposable hand towels, and a bin for towels, are available.




Ensure all waste receptacles have disposable liners (e.g. polythene bin bags) to reduce the risk to those responsible for removing them.




If possible, provide safe means for worshippers and visitors to record their name and contact details; retain each day’s record for 21 days

Booked worshippers are allocated seats in advance and contact details taken for anyone new.

JB, Sides


Give due notice of the resumption of use of the building to neighbours, congregation and wider community, ensuring that visitors and worshippers will know what to expect when they come.

Done. Any reminders or updates via pew sheet



Cleaning the church before and after general use (no known exposure to anyone with Coronavirus symptoms)



If the church building has been closed for 72 hours between periods of being open then there is no need for extra cleaning to remove the virus from surfaces.




If 72-hour closure is not possible then check all cleaners are not in a vulnerable group or self-isolating.




Set up a cleaning rota to cover your opening arrangements.




All cleaners provided with gloves (ideally disposable).




Suitable cleaning materials provided, depending on materials and if historic surfaces are to be cleaned.




Confirm person responsible for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site.




Confirm the frequency for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site – suggested daily removal.




Cleaning the church after known exposure to someone with Coronavirus symptoms

If possible close the church building for 72 hours with no access permitted.




If 72-hour closure is not possible then follow Public Health England guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

Will follow PHE guidance as required



If the building has been quarantined for 72 hours, then carry out cleaning as per the normal advice on cleaning.