Where are we with our services under Tier 5?

The Standing Committee met when we were still in Tier 4, to discuss what we should do about the 11am in the light of the new strain of coronavirus.

We have done everything we can to make the 9am secure. Masks and gloves are worn, social distancing is practised, ventilation is in place despite the cold weather, and cleaning is undertaken. However, a second service inevitably increases the risk.

From the December figures, it was hard to gauge how popular the 11am in person service might be. We met on two Sundays in December. The first took place on in the morning of Christingle. The second was the day of the Carol Service. We would normally expect a low attendance at 11am on both occasions.

The first service at 11am in January would be a better indicator as this is normally one of the best attended of the year. Christmas is behind us and people are all at home that week-end.

Standing Committee felt it was best to proceed on the assumption that we would not meet in person at 11am after January 3rd. However, if lots of congregation members were to turn up for that service we would review our decision.

In the end only five people attended the service. A number had already told us they would not be coming in until they were vaccinated. Others are living in Wiltshire and were not, of course, allowed to come in. The decision was made for us.

We are facing a double whammy.

  • A new strain of coronavirus with a very high infection rate.
  • People unable to serve on the various rotas.

In the light of those two factors we have decided that the best thing is to pause the 11am service until the warmer weather arrives. By then, considerably more
of us will have been vaccinated.

Pattern, Lydiard Millicent, Lower Stratton and Parks and Walcot have currently closed their in-person services. We do not plan to take this step at present, but the truth is that we cannot really predict anything with confidence.

PCC will discuss this question on Monday 18th.