Covid Conditions

Special Conditions of Hire during the COVID-19 emergency

Note: These conditions are supplemental to and not a replacement for the hall’s existing terms and conditions of hire.


  • 22 July. Draft published for review and comment. Not yet approved by Trustees
  • 27 July. Minor updates of clarification
  • 1 Aug. Preamble extended with policy for returning users

These supplemental conditions apply to all regular bookings.  Hirers will be asked to confirm that they accept, and will abide by, all of our terms and conditions.

We, the trustees, want to make sure that all our regular users are able to return, even if they have to wait until the emergency is over.  If a new regular booking is taken in a slot which cannot yet be used, it will only be for a term at a time, and regular users will have priority when they are able to resume.

Most one-off bookings, such as children and adult parties, are not yet allowed because the latest Government Guidance (17th July, section 2a) states that “Users should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. If partaking in a formal activity, users of community facilities should limit their social interactions with anyone they do not live with outside of this activity.

Until further guidance is available, we will not be able to host parties and other social gatherings of more than two households.  However, government guidance is updated regularly so please use the calendar to request bookings on the understanding that they may not be able to proceed if these restrictions have not been relaxed by the time of your booking.  (see clause SC11 cancellation, below).

SC1: COVID-secure Guidelines
You, the hirer, will be responsible for ensuring those attending your activity or event comply with the Hall COVID-secure Guidelines while entering and occupying the hall, in particular ensure that they use hand sanitiser when entering and leaving the hall. The Hall Guidelines will also be displayed prominently through the building,

SC2: Risk Assessments
The Trustees have completed a Risk Assessment covering use of the hall during the COVID-19 emergency.  All actions required by you, the hirer, are specified in these special conditions of hire, but you may find the Risk Assessment helpful for explaining why these conditions are needed. In turn, you as Hirer are expected to carry out your own risk assessment before running your classes in the hall.

SC3: Cleaning
We ask that you clean all surfaces likely to be touched during your period of hire both at the start and at the end of your booking.

You will be responsible for cleaning door handles and push plates, light switches, window catches, tables and chairs, toilet handles and seats, wash basins and all other surfaces likely to be touched during your period of hire. Please take care cleaning electrical equipment.  Use cloths, and do not spray!  See SC14 for use of your own equiment.

If appropriate, please maintain regular cleaning of surfaces during your hire, 

Use either the products supplied (which will be in a clearly accessible location) or your own ordinary domestic products.

Floors will be cleaned twice a week, and you do not need to clean them during your booking unless your own risk assessment identifies this as something that needs to be done to match your pattern of use.

SC4: Track and Trace
You are asked to keep a record of the name and contact telephone number or email of all those who attend your event for a period of 3 weeks after the event and provide the record to Test, Track and Trace system if required. (People are not obliged to provide details)

You will make sure that everyone likely to attend your activity or event understands that they MUST NOT DO SO if they, or anyone in their household has had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 7 days, and that if they develop symptoms within 7 days of visiting the premises they MUST use the Test, Track and Trace system to alert others with whom they have been in contact.

SC5: Ventilation
You will keep the premises well ventilated throughout your hire, with windows and doors open as far as convenient, subject to security and safeguarding of young people.

You will be responsible for ensuring they are all securely closed on leaving.

SC6: Capacity with Social Distancing
You will limit the number of people attending your activity/event, in order that social distancing can be maintained. The maximum capacity of each room, depending on usage, the number of family units or “bubbles”, and the extent of social distancing applied is:

Distancing 2.5 m 2 m 1 m + mask
Orchard Hall – exercising 20 23 n/a
Orchard Hall – seated (no retractable seating) n/a 29 100
Orchard Hall – seated retractable seating only n/a Couples 40
Singles 25
Cherry Hall – exercising 17 20 n/a
Cherry Hall – seated n/a 26 74

If you plan to have more people, please discuss it with us first.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more details, and diagrams.

You will ensure that everyone attending maintains social distancing while waiting to enter the premises and keeps time spent in more confined areas as brief as possible, e.g. in corridors and accessing toilets, in kitchen, and when retrieving equipment from cupboards.

If there is overlap between people leaving one session and arriving for the next, please use a one-way system and ask people to leave using the emergency exits.

You will make sure that no more than one person uses the disabled toilets at one time. (standard toilets will only be for use in emergencies).

SC7: Vulnerable people, including over 70s
Government Guidelines continue to encourage vulnerable people and over 70s to stay at home, so you must take particular care to ensure that social distancing is maintained for any such persons.  This should include, for example keeping a 2m distance around them when going in and out of rooms and ensuring they can access the toilets, kitchen or other confined areas without others being present.  For some people, passing another person in a confined space is less risky, but for older people that should be avoided wherever possible.

SC8: Layout of furniture
You will position furniture or the arrangement of the room as far as possible to facilitate people seating side by side, rather than face to face.  If lecture-style layout you will position chairs with the appropriate social distance between them. If tables are being used, you will place them so as to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres across the table between people who are face to face e.g. using a wide U-shape.

SC9: Rubbish
You will be responsible for the disposal of all rubbish created during your hire, including tissues and cleaning cloths.  Please feel free to use the rubbish bags provided in the kitchen and take your rubbish away with you.  DO NOT use any of the hall bins.

SC10: Food and Drink
Users should be encouraged to bring their own refreshments, and only use the kitchen for drinking water. Any water bottles left in the hall will be disposed of and not left out for later collection.

If drinks or food are made in the kitchen, you are responsible for ensuring that all hall crockery and cutlery is washed, if possible, in the dishwashers, or in hot soapy water, dried and stowed away. You will bring your own clean tea towels, so as to reduce risk of contamination between hirers, and take them away. We will provide washing up liquid.

SC11: Cancellation
All bookings are subject to cancellation if Government guidance at the time would not permit it or it appeared requirements then in force would not be met.

We have the right to close the hall if there are safety concerns relating to COVID-19, for example:

  • if someone who has attended the hall develops symptoms and thorough cleansing is required, or
  • if it is reported that these Conditions above are not being complied with, whether by you or by other hirers, or
  • in the event that public buildings are asked or required to close again.

If this is necessary, we will do our best to inform you promptly and you will not be charged for your hire.

SC12: Unwell attendees
In the event of someone becoming unwell with suspected Covid-19 symptoms while at the hall, you should remove them to the designated safe area which is the central disabled toilet and is clearly marked.

We have prepared a COVID-19 first-aid bag with tissues and a bin or plastic bag.  Please use the bowl provided and fill with warm soapy water for handwashing.

Ask others in your group to provide contact details if you do not have them and then leave the premises, observing the usual hand sanitising and social distancing precautions.  Advise all members of your group to launder their clothes when they arrive home.  Inform the Bookings Administrator IMMEDIATELY, using contact phone numbers displayed on each notice board.

If there is another group using the hall at the time, please also advise them of the situation and ask them to leave immediately – don’t come within 2 metres of them however!

SC13: Handover of children
When attendees are children, you are responsible for making appropriate hand-over arrangements at the start and end of each individual session in your overall hire period. 

Parents and other adults or other children who are not a member of your group will not be allowed to wait in the hall building so they should wait outside or in their cars.

SC14: Equipment
Where a group uses equipment, you will, as far as possible, avoid using equipment which is difficult to clean. If attendees use their own equipment (e.g. mats, weights, etc) you will ask them not to share it with other members. 

You will ensure that any equipment you provide is cleaned before use and afterwards, before being stored in the hall’s cupboards.

SC15: Booking period
You undertake to use the hall only during your allotted booking period so as to reduce the risk of overlap and meeting other hall users.  You may be asked to amend your booking time to ensure you have enough time for setup and clear-up and to provide a larger interval between bookings.

SC16: Other Guidance
You, the hirer, are responsible for following all Government Guidance and specialised advice from any body to which you are affiliated relating to your specific use of the building, for example guidance on selling tickets and seating arrangements for live performance, guidance on serving food and drink if you plan to cook lunch, or run a bar, or guidance for use of mats and social distancing if you are running a class like pilates or yoga.

Further Information

A venue for all in Harwell, Oxfordshire