Communal worship

  • Entrance and exit routes?
  • Should toilets be available? If so …
    • in what capacity (general use or emergency only)?
    • at user’s own risk?
    • which ones?
    • what will be access/return routes?
  • To help with planning, how can we judge the numbers of people likely to attend “new normal” style services?
  • What is socially distanced seating going to look like? What are the numbers that can be accommodated in different scenarios such as 2m socially distanced, 1m + mitigation etc?

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martin
martin
3 months ago

Will we have a socially distanced, no sitting buffer zone either side of the aisle? If not, will we manage the flow of people so that no-one walks down the aisle past others sitting in pews?

martinf
martinf
3 months ago

This pic shows a scale drawing based on 2m distancing in the pews. The centre of each coin represents a person, the radius of each coin represents 1m. So two coins edge to edge represents two people 2m apart.

bsuc-two-metre-social-distancing-on-pews-2.jpg
martin
martin
3 months ago

This pic shows a scale drawing based on 2m distancing in the pews. The centre of each coin represents a person, the radius of each coin (13mm) represents 1m. So two coins edge to edge represents two people 2m apart.

The distance between pews ‘front to back’ was estimated at 82cm by looking through the Bell St window.

The width of left and right hand pews (3m) and the width of the aisle (1m) was estimated from photos.

There are obviously many permutations and combinations based on people bubbles.

bsuc-worship-2m-social-distancing.jpg
martin
martin
Reply to  martin
3 months ago

What about social distancing of 1m+?

The pics in this and the two following comments (can only attach 1x pic per comment) shows a scale drawing based on 1m distancing in the pews. The centre of each coin represents a person, the radius of each coin (13mm) represents 0.5m. So two coins edge to edge represents two people 1m apart.

The most densely packed arrangement for socially distanced individuals would be 3x per left or right hand pew for pews 1 to 6, but to maintain 1m distance at all times, successive rows would have to be filled/emptied in an unnatural order – alternately one person per row.

social-distance-1m-3.jpg
martin
martin
Reply to  martin
3 months ago

See previous comment …

social-distance-1m-2.jpg
martin
martin
Reply to  martin
3 months ago

See previous comment …

social-distance-1m-1.jpg
martin
martin
Reply to  martin
3 months ago

The shorter, simpler and clearer we can make seating rules, the less a seating steward will be needed. There needs to be a balance with maximising capacity.

I don’t know what seating rules will be adopted, but here’s a stab at something based on rough measurements and social distancing of 1m + masks.

It’s complicated slightly by the back pews being shorter…..

Only every other pew will be available. Unavailable ones will be marked.

Where you sit depends on the number in your ‘bubble’ and whether it’s a longer pew or one of the shorter ones at the back.

On the longer pews …

Bubbles of 3 or more:

  • Have sole use of a pew

Bubbles of 2:

  • Sit at one end or another, the space at the other end to be available to a single person.

Singles:

  • Share, sitting at opposite ends, with either another single or a 2 person bubble.

Note:

  • 2 person bubbles at either end of a pew is not allowed.

On the shorter pews …

Bubbles of 2 or more:

  • Have sole use of a pew

Singles:

  • Share, sitting at opposite ends, with another single.
martinf
martinf
Reply to  martin
2 months ago

Thoughts about upstairs.

Upstairs is tricky. Better if it includes a one-way system. Would need to manage/stipulate a filll/empty order.

Avoid seating in upstairs ‘front’ pews because their droplets would be more likely to fall on those below.

Retain flexibility in swapping doubles with two singles. (scope for visitor confusion with swapping).

Try to retain simplest “where to sit rules” so that visitors need less direction. See longer/shorter pews ideas in parent comment.

p2.2.png
martin
martin
3 months ago

Just chatting to my neighbour who acts as usher at Catholic church. It’s been open for worship services since beginning of July.
They use 1m+ social distancing. Details …

  • Only alternate pews in use. An ‘X’ marks unavailable ones.
  • All use face masks – some available at entrance. One person refused to wear one initially, but has subsequently been convinced.
  • People from same bubble fill pew as they choose.
  • People from different bubbles sit one at either end of pew.
  • Toilets are freely available (don’t know if there are ‘at your own risk’ signs).
  • Normal hand sanitisation on entry.
  • A few of congregation asked to stay behind to wipe down surfaces.
martin
martin
Reply to  martin
3 months ago

Capacity in the pews estimate …

So if we did something similar (1m+ distancing), with 8 pews on each side (6 ‘normal’ + 2 at back narrower), then we’d have a capacity something like ….

4x usable pews each side with 2 people per pew = 16 people.

martin
martin
Reply to  martin
3 months ago

Upstairs?

Do we want to allow access upstairs?

Issues could be …

  • Extra cleaning
  • Access to 2nd stairwell as fire escape. This in turn could lead to extra barrier requirements to limit access to other areas accessible from 2nd stairwell.
  • Greater infection risk for those downstairs because, despite the use of masks, any escaped droplets from those upstairs will fall downwards.
martin
martin
3 months ago

There has been some support for entering by the Bell St door in order to provide space in the Shearer room for hand sanitising and collection of contact tracing details. This has led to the suggestion that 3 stewards could be required. 1x outside queue management, 1x collect contact tracing details and 1x guide to seats.

Finding 3 stewards might be difficult.

There is also overhead in terms of cleaning and barrier setup/takedown from the Bell St entrance through to the ‘far’ entrance door to the main church area.

We could potentially reduce these overheads to one steward and no use of Bell St entrance if we could find some way to accommodate hand sanitising and collection of track and trace details at the ‘normal’ Parsons Pool entrance, as well as make known some <strong>simple</strong> seating rule such as an <strong>’X'</strong> on every other pew and no more than either one household of 2 or more in a pew or two households of one person each sitting at opposite ends.

Pic of this seating arrangement attached to this comment.

Collecting track and trace details might need some creative thought?

How about using a new and dated hard copy of the church directory each week. The one steward. then marks it like a register for those who enter and adds to it or modifies it accordingly if the visitor isn’t in it or if their contact details are different?

social-distance-1m-4.jpg
martin
martin
2 months ago

Including here some seating plans shared around yesterday. I think they must include the two rows of chairs at the front as well as the pews. See here

martin
martin
2 months ago

Chairs/pews photo to help judge socially distanced seating layouts.

pew-chair-layout.jpg
martin
martin
2 months ago

As i write this our survey responses indicate 24 intending to come on the 6th Sept, broken down as …

13 x1
4 x2
1 x3

That’s approaching downstairs capacity.

If we use upstairs, it’s going to be tricky to arrange a seating layout for a number of reasons …..

Only two rows of pews, some of which are blocked on the side where the organ is.

Filling/emptying. It’s hard to see how two people can pass each other.

People tend to sit at the back, around where clock is. How will they get there? Where will next group/individual following on behind sit? How will those upstairs exit and how will any access toilets if available?

Using upstairs is also going to mean more cleaning and/or quarantine arrangements, including stairwells.

martin
martin
2 months ago

I don’t think Eventbrite is going to work for us because even if an event allows users to pick from available usable seats, it also ALWAYS allows them to not care where they sit and just choose a number of seats. The Eventbrite tool itself just allocates these in order, from those available.

For example, if we had something like this arrangement of usable seats in a row of 6…..

X  2  X  X  5 6

and three individuals all asked for one seat each, without caring which ones, then Eventbrite would allocate them seats 2, 5 and 6.

There are a number of similar scenarios, such as two groups of two reserving one after the other, where the end result would not be socially distanced seating.

martin
martin
Reply to  martin
2 months ago

As an alternative, can we come up with a simple rule that visitors could learn so that they can work out where to sit as they arrive? The Catholic church have pews and they seem to have a pretty simple system based on the number in a group and the number already sitting in a pew. Those details are elsewhere in this blog. Search for Catholic.

martin
martin
Reply to  martin
2 months ago

Diagram or words?

Tricky. Usable seats in a row depends on … Whether it’s possible for someone to walk closely past seat at either end ……. How many seats are in row …… How many in your household/bubble wanting to sit together…… Whether any seats in the this are already taken by another household/bubble group.

martin
martin
2 months ago

The downstairs seating plan for the first two weeks ‘back’ is following a fairly well defined pattern.

The plan is currently generated using a bookings list to allocate specific seats to specific people. A steward then directs people to seats as they arrive.

I haven’t been to a service to see for myself, but i would imagine the steward needs to do a bit of ‘juggling’ based on the order people arrive and “no-shows”.

Rather than generating a named seating plan, there might be some benefit in describing the generic seating pattern to visitors as a set of simple rules, then letting them sit where they want within those constraints. No doubt some direction from a steward would be needed, but this would reduce as visitors got more used to the “rules”.

So here’s a first attempt at some downstairs seating “rules”. They start by describing the chair/pew layout, then things relevant to all, then divide into sections which apply according to the number in a visitor group.

General layout left and right hand sides, starting at front.

2 rows of chairs (x6 spaces/row)
6 rows of longer pews (x6 spaces/row)

When considering the rules for groups, it will be helpful to think of positions on a pew lining up with the chairs at the front.

Left hand side (road) only
1 shorter pew (x 4 spaces/row)

Right hand side only
2 rows of shorter pews (x 4 spaces/row)

Rules applying to all

  • All aisle seats unavailable (they will be marked)
  • Alternate rows unavailable (they will be marked or blocked off with rope or similar)
  • Available rows to be used alternately by 2 singles and groups (they will be marked ‘2 singles only’ or ‘one group of 2 to 3 only’), starting with singles in the frontmost usable row.

Rules applying to singles only

  • In all but the shorter pews at the back, first to arrive to sit against wall, second to sit one place away from aisle (aisle position +1).
  • In the shorter pews at the back, one person only, sitting against wall.

Rules applying to groups of two or three only

  • Sit anywhere in a row, but not inline with the singles in front and/or behind. This is equivalent to sitting anywhere in the row but NOT the position against the wall or the aisle position or the aisle position +1.

These rules would generate the seat availability shown in the attached image.

layout5.png
martinf
martinf
Reply to  martin
2 months ago

I guess just sharing seat availability image alone, with minimal description, would be enough to describe the seating plan? Could it go into notices, on website etc etc?

martinf
martinf
2 months ago

In relation to the question of whether it’s safe to reopen as the country seems to be approaching another spike ….

As with many ‘risky activities’ in life, some of which like crossing the road can be a matter of life and death, individuals have a choice between participating or not.

No matter what systems are in place, attending church physically will always have an associated life and death risk until a vaccine is widely available. That is why i choose not to attend physically.

It’s a big responsibility for volunteer leaders with no particular relevant expertise to design and implement minimum risk systems that are at least as good as the legal requirements. Lots of guidance is available but that too is challenging because it changes often and there is so much of it to digest.

I anticipate the decision will be taken out of leaders’ hands, but in the extreme, a horrible question for them to ask themselves might be….

How responsible would i be/feel if someone who knows the risks, accepts them, attends and as a result becomes infected and dies?

My view is that provided …..

  • Legally required procedures and practices are in place.
  • People are fully aware of the risks.

then it is ok to open. But i would only allow people downstairs. Upstairs would be off limits to all. Mainly because of falling droplets, dust etc. but also because of the difficulties in maintaining safe social distancing between those upstairs in all scenarios, including someone needing to leave part way through a service.

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