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Advice for Reopening Community Spaces

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With the government’s roadmap out of lockdown now published, Alpha Furniture thought we would provide an update for customers on reopening churches, village halls and other community facilities.

Some key dates to note are as follows:

8th March
• Schools and colleges in England reopen for all students
• Care home residents are allowed a named visitor, providing negative tests and PPE are sought
• Wraparound childcare as well as other supervised children’s activities can resume
• Some university students will return

No earlier than 12th April
• Public buildings including libraries and community centres can reopen
• Indoor leisure facilities can reopen, for example gyms and swimming pools
• Hospitality venues can reopen for outdoor service
• Funerals can be attended by up to 30 people; and weddings, receptions, and commemorative events such as wakes by up to 15 people

No earlier than 17th May
• Indoor hospitality and exercise classes can reopen
• Weddings, receptions and commemorative events can be attended by up to 30 people, as per funerals

No earlier than 21 June
• Legal limits on social contact will hopefully be removed
• Restrictions on large events and performances such as theatre shows will be lifted
• An update on whether all limits can be removed for weddings and other life events.

The government has published comprehensive guidance for the reopening of community spaces, which can be found here.

Of course all venues differ in their layout and organisation, and so what is relevant for some will not be relevant or achievable for others. However there are also general principles that managers of community spaces should adopt, ensuring the safest possible environment for staff, volunteers and visitors. A risk assessment should be carried out, relating to entry and exit for visitors, and also any equipment available to them, including furniture.

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Steps to take

In order to facilitate a safe opening, managers of community spaces must oversee a risk assessment. The aim of the RA should be to:

  • Establish the maximum capacity while ensuring social distancing
  • Avoiding the mixing of different groups in communal areas as much as possible, e.g. corridors, WCs, etc.
  • Affirming whether a one-way system is possible, with separate entrance and exit, or separate access for different areas.
  • Providing hand sanitising or washing stations on entry, as well as a sign-in book or equivalent for trace and trace.
  • Assessing the risk of transmission posed by equipment available for use for external users.

New Furniture Options

For halls looking to provide new furniture, Alpha Furniture have a wealth of experience and options that ensure economical storage, ease of moving, and ease of cleaning. From plastic folding chairs or tables that are wiped clean and stored on trollies, to upholstered chairs with specialist anti-microbial coatings, our offering has kept up with the times for the utmost practicality.
One such anti-microbial coating is now available as a spray, offering up to 90 days of protection for virtually any surface, reducing the presence of coronaviruses by 90% within the first hour, and 99.9% within 24 hours. For further details, or to buy a box of 6 bottles, click here.

Gopak Economy folding tables are available from stock, as are our full range of cafe tables to ensure quick delivery in order to facilitate hand sanitising and sign-in stations for track and trace.

Easy Manoeuvring  Solutions

Our universal trolleys are also available from stock for quick delivery, while previous customers can top up existing trolley stock specific to their folding or stacking chairs quickly and easily. One simple method to improve safety is to rotate furniture, ensuring as much time as possible between uses and preventing the virus from being able to transmit between groups.

Delivered in Time

With many wipeable plastic chairs available from stock, it is not too late to order for delivery before the furniture is next required, whether intended for indoor or outdoor use.
Alpha’s free, no obligation sample service continues to run with safe in-person or courier delivery, allowing our customers the chance to trial furniture first hand before committing to an order. Delivery can also be arranged to a home address for convenience. To arrange to receive samples, or for any advice, get in touch with our helpful team today, by calling on 01494 670 600, emailing [email protected] or filling in a webform from any page on our website.

Reupholstery Service

Our reupholstery service has also continued strongly over the course of the last year, with many customers also opting to change from a fabric to a wipe clean faux leather upholstery. The idea to change the upholstery type as well as refresh the chairs isn’t necessarily an obvious one, but one that can bring an extra level of practicality for chairs with a much more varied use in modern day life than they were originally intended for.