Covid-19: Premises Re-opening
As the lockdown is gradually eased, we are considering the necessary measures that need to be put in place, in accordance with Government and Archdiocesan advice, so that our churches can begin to re-open. At present, churches in England are allowed to open for individual prayer provided measures are put in place to ensure the least possible risk of transmission. Although not yet relaxed in Wales, it is anticipated that a similar situation will be permitted shortly.
In Monmouth, as mentioned on the website over the last couple of weeks, we are taking the opportunity of the lockdown to carry out the internal repair and redecoration works that have been planned for this summer and the builders will be starting on Monday (the 22nd), with the work due to last until around the end of August; so we will not be able to open St Mary’s for individual prayer before then.
In Ross, St Frances church and presbytery painting programme (on the advice of the Boyes-Reece 5-year maintenance plan) is booked to start on 29th June and will last four weeks, weather permitting. When redecoration works have been completed, we shall need to put measures in place for both churches before they can be re-opened for individual prayer.
With the current 2-metre distancing, the number of people that can be accommodated at any one time will be limited, with people sitting apart, access controlled and with one-way systems implemented if possible. So that this can be carried out safely, it will be necessary to have two stewards in attendance when the church is open. It would also be helpful to have an idea of how many parishioners would like to take the opportunity of praying in the church, to establish whether times need to be allocated.
The regular cleaning of surfaces that are frequently touched, together with the general cleaning of the churches, will be very important. Hand-sanitisers will also be provided on entry and exit.
Therefore we are seeking volunteers to assist with the following, so that rotas can be prepared:
- Stewarding whilst the churches are open for individual prayer.
If you are able to help with either of these tasks, could you please let Fr. Nick know, as soon as possible (contact details below). Volunteers will need to comply with the current health advice. Volunteers should not carry out parish tasks if they:
- Have symptoms themselves,
- Are shielding,
- Share a home with someone with coronavirus symptoms,
- Or who are vulnerable to infection because of age (i.e. over 70) or underlying health conditions,
- Or are uncomfortable about catching or spreading the virus.
Once these arrangements are in place, we are hoping to open St Frances on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with St Mary’s opening on Monday and Wednesday mornings in due course.
In the longer term, when we are able to open the Churches for Mass, further measures are likely to be required and we will keep you informed of these as the situation changes.
Fr Nicholas James: The Presbytery, 26 St Mary’s Street, Monmouth. NP25 3DB
Tel No: 01600 712029
18th June 2020