New NFWI Guidance on WIs Resuming Meetings

Following updates to the Government Covid advice, NFWI has simplified and updated the resuming meeting guidance with immediate effect.

Full details of the Covid safety advice for England is available on gov.uk

To summarise:

Musts

  • Ensure the venue is well ventilated.
  • Members must wash/sanitise their hands and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Ensure access to handwashing facilities and/or an adequate number of hand sanitisers.
  • Stay at home if you have any symptoms. This includes members, visitors and speakers.
  • If you have symptoms get a PCR test and self-isolate. Inform your WI Committee if you attended a WI meeting/activity and have tested positive for Covid in the last 10 days.
  • Self-isolate if told to do so by NHS Test and Trace or NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect.
  • Face coverings are still mandatory in Wales. Members must wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces unless exempt. If you are exempt please inform your WI Committee before attending a WI meeting or activity.

Recommended

  • Whilst no longer mandatory it is recommended WIs continue to keep a register of all attendees at WI meetings and activities for NHS Test and Trace and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect.
  • Whilst wearing face coverings is no longer mandatory in England some members may feel more comfortable continuing to wear them and the wearing of face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces is encouraged.
  • Whilst social distancing is no longer mandatory you may choose to limit the close contact you have with people you do not usually live with.
  • Government advice is that it is recommended to be double vaccinated (and any booster vaccinations) to increase individual safety and help keep others safe.
  • Please remember that vaccines are not mandatory and some people cannot have vaccines for health reasons. Members do not have to prove they have been vaccinated or have had a recent negative test to gain entrance to a WI meeting or activity and WIs are not entitled to request this information.
  • Use of the NHS Covid passports is not mandatory. In both England and Wales adopting them is voluntary for individual organisations. NFWI is not asking WIs to adopt the NHS Covid passport. Please check with any venues you hire if they have any Covid passport rules in place. For your information they are encouraged for large scale events such as:
    • Indoor non-seated events of more than 500 people, where people are mixing closely for prolonged periods.
    • Outdoor non-seated events of over 4,000, where people will be mixing closely for prolonged periods. Any event, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.
  • From 15 November the Covid pass is needed for cinemas, theatres and nightclubs in Wales.

There is more information on the NHS Covid pass on gov.uk and wales.uk. This includes information on how to get an NHS Covid pass in England.
Please note WIs should still be thinking about safety planning for all events. This includes safety with regards to Covid and general safety to reduce the risk of harm.

Once a reoccurring event has been risk assessed the safety measures identified need to be in place for each following event. The same event does not need another full risk assessment unless something has changed or a significant length of time has passed since the last event of its type was held. This means that for monthly WI meetings one risk assessment for the first meeting back is sufficient. The Committee then just needs to consider if any changes have happened since the last monthly meeting that would prompt a fresh risk assessment.
Please see the NFWI Health and Safety Guidance which includes a risk assessment form.

Lastly, may we extend a huge thank you to all our WIs and federations for continuing to adapt and adjust to evolving circumstances in the wake of Covid.

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