Yesterday afternoon Dave and I organised a socially distanced walk with two friends but I had to send a text message to put back our meeting time as I knew we were never going to make it. The reason for our delay was that we had been down to church with James (Director of Music) to try and clear all the downspouts etc after there had been some water ingress following the heavy midweek rain. The gunge that collects at the top of the downspouts has an appalling smell although I think that the decomposed bird that we found in one place didn’t help. There were interesting comments from passers by walking down the avenue as we were to be seen on the church roof, including the inevitable ‘Don’t jump’.
So before we could go anywhere my other half had to have a shower and wash his hair before anyone would want to be within 5 metres of us, let alone 2. While we were walking along one of our friends asked ‘So is St. George’s open for private prayer now?’ He was surprised that my answer was no so when we stopped for our mid walk refreshments I explained why.
Firstly imagine any building that has had nothing done to it for 13 weeks, there is dust everywhere. As we have only been allowed to have one person walking through and checking on a weekly basis it is still as it was left mid March after the Mothering Sunday streamed service. The March magazines are still on the table at the back and the Easter season crucifix is still in place. Before we can open there is a cleaning job to be done on quite a grand scale.
Next, just like any other venue opening to the public we have to make it safe for staff, volunteers and visitors. The necessary PPE has been ordered so we have masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. We will need to be able to direct people to where they are permitted to sit and cover up the areas that they cannot use such as hymn books, children’s toys etc. Also we must make sure that people know exactly where they are allowed to sit, so that we can maintain the 2 metre rule. For all of this we need the yellow and black marking tape that is to be seen everywhere and although that has been ordered it hasn’t arrived yet.
Lastly we will need a rota of volunteers willing to be there when the church is open. Not only will they need to direct people along the route in and out of the church (probably a one way system) but they will need to watch very carefully where people sit, so that the seat can be wiped before anyone else sits there. Unfortunately none of us have X-ray vision to see who is a potential carrier, so we must assume that we all are.
When we do have everything in place, be sure that we will let everyone know that another tiny bit of normality is returning. Meanwhile stay safe.