This page is in 3 parts – Current Restrictions, Roadmap to Ringing Resumption and Ringing Survival & Recovery.
Lockdown 3.0 has suspended the Tiers-based guidance and replaced it with a mandatory requirement to Stay at Home ‘unless you have a reasonable excuse.’ The Central Council’s guidance is to adhere to that principle and not go out to ring.
The ringing of a single bell or Ellacombe chime (or bells in the case of a ringing household) as part of an act of worship is not prohibited, and if you think it is important enough for a bell or bells to be heard in your community, and you can do it without putting yourselves or others at risk, then that is your decision to make.
CCCBR update: https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/
Roadmap to Ringing Resumption
On Monday 22 February, the UK Government published a roadmap for exiting lockdown over the coming months, detailing how and when restrictions will be eased if everything goes to plan. It is a welcome and cautious framework for a return to normality. The roadmap provides us with an opportunity for ringing to return over the coming months.
While there is still detail to be studied, and every chance of change, all indications are that ringing in England at least will come out of lockdown as follows:
Stage 1 – 29 March
Rule of six outdoors will benefit handbell ringing (up to 15 for young people)
Stage 2 – no earlier than 12 April
Young ringers groups possible following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (expect social distancing restrictions)
Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May
Rule of six indoors enables ringing subject to social distancing rules to be confirmed (could still be 2m). On 12th March a new paper was included by CCCBR covering vaccination and virus transmission: https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/vaccination-and-virus-transmission-in-towers/
Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June
All legal restrictions removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)
During any of these stages, ringers may still be cautious as not all ringers will be vaccinated, particularly young people. There is still risk of transmission and infection for us to be aware of; vaccination is not a passport. An article will be published in next week’s Ringing World with updated analysis of transmission in ringing chambers and the benefits of ventilation. This will just be for guidance though to be interpreted in accordance with local circumstances – the law will be the primary driver for what ringing is possible.
This is the clearest we can be at the moment based on the information available, and after discussion with the Church of England Recovery Group on 26th February. It is a roadmap, with more detail to be considered as we move forward. We appreciate ringers are all now starting to plan ringing events from late June onwards, and being asked whether bells will be available for weddings, etc. The main word of caution is that the Government is at pains to stress that these dates are the earliest possible, so commitments made for shortly after those deadlines should be made with that in mind.
Post-Covid Ringing Survival & Recovery
On the subject of Survival and Recovery during Covid and post-Covid, we have received issues of a newsletter which has been published by the Central Council and the Association of Ringing Teachers . You can download issue 1 here, issue 2 here and issue 3 here. There is also a document produced by Matt Lawrence available – Top Tips for Survival and Recovery.
There is also a Toolbox on the same subject –