We all recognised that the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are impacting the whole world including us in the UK. It has changed the UK landscape so profoundly and so quickly. Guidance and instructions from the government in third week of March to close down the places of worships had created a dilemma for Hindu temples. It had never happened in our living memory that temples closed its doors for the devotees. We were all thinking individual safety versus community. Central philosophy our religion i.e. coming together was partly metaphorical now, we could not have come together, we cannot reach out to the very people who need us the most and this was pulling us all apart. It was very dark and difficult period
Now the government is easing the lockdown gradually with guidelines and advice. This advice is designed to assist temples to prepare to open for the permitted activities ie individual prayers in accordance with the associated amendments to the Regulations which will come into effect on 15th June 2020 in a manner that is safe and in line with social distancing guidelines so that all individuals attending the temples, including those who work there, have minimal risk of exposure to the infection.
Temples and management committee will have discretion over when they consider it safe to open the temple and as permitted by the Regulations legislation, and should decide to remain closed at this stage if they are not able to safely facilitate the guidelines. Many temples are also workplaces and should therefore be aware of their responsibilities as employers under health and safety law. No one should feel obliged to work in a workplace they consider to be unsafe.
To help decide which actions to take to ensure a safe opening, a COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed by each temple. This will be in addition to any risk assessment already in place. It may also be beneficial to include worshippers or other stakeholders (e.g. neighbouring tenants) in the risk assessment to assist understanding among faith and local communities and improve reopening design and execution.
Management committee of the temple must take action to minimise the potential for spreading of coronavirus (COVID-19) among worshippers, and those working/volunteering within the building and surrounding grounds. There should be a particular focus on protecting people who are clinically vulnerable and more likely to develop severe illness.
Social distancing measures are actions to reduce social interaction between people in order to minimise the opportunity for transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). All visitors to temple should follow the guidelines on social distancing
All surfaces, especially those most frequently touched, should being cleaned regularly, using standard cleaning products.
On entering and leaving a place of worship everyone, including staff, should be asked to wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or to use hand sanitiser if hand washing facilities are not available.
There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure.
Children attending the temples
It is a parent or guardian’s responsibility to ensure children maintain social distancing.
Individuals aged over 70 years attending the temples
Certain groups of people are at increased risk of severe disease from coronavirus (COVID-19), including people who are aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions.
If you wish to discuss a Risk Assessment consultation for dealing with the current Covid-19 situation in your place of worship or would like further information, please contact us. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can phone us.