Essential Information on making the Centre Covid secure

If you would like to read our Covid-19 Risk Assessment, please click here.

As from 19th July, 2021, all legally imposed Covid restrictions have been lifted but we are still urged to be cautious. We have taken advice from the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Public Health Devon, and offer the following guidance to those coming to the centre in person. Here at the Palace Gate Centre, we ask all to continue to exercise care and caution.

Guidance for attending a group at the Centre in person

The safety of our users, staff and volunteers is our priority in these difficult times. As a result your group may still be different from that you would have previously experienced. We will continue to adapt as necessary to changing circumstances.

In the morning, before you come to the centre assess your own health:

Do you feel unwell?

Do you have a temperature?

Do you feel hot to touch on your chest or back?

Have you developed a new, continuous cough?

Has your sense of smell or taste changed?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may have Covid 19 and should not come to church. Contact the NHS to arrange a PCR test. Even if you think your illness may not be Covid, we ask you to consider seriously whether you should be in close contact with other people. If you are unwell, please stay at home until you are better so that you do not infect others.

Keeping each safe

We will continue to keep some windows and doors open to bring fresh air into our building to reduce the possibility of any infection spreading. Please do not close them. However, ventilation is limited in an older building like ours so we recommend that when inside the building we all continue to wear face coverings. Some are not yet fully vaccinated and others, even though fully vaccinated, may be at risk of serious illness still from Covid. Wearing a face covering reduces the possibility of transmitting Covid. We ask you to wear face coverings in all the public areas such as toilets, reception, stairways and corridors; within your activity it will be up to your group what you do, though we recommend you remain cautious.

Whilst we warmly welcome you and each other, we urge you to continue to avoid handshakes, elbow bumps or hugs. Sanitise your hands using the hand sanitiser station when you come in and regularly when in the centre.

We are still advised to avoid a lot of indoor contact with people from other households. Public Health Devon recommend that when indoors, we limit the number of people we closely interact with. With the lifting of Covid measures, there is no longer a legal limit on how many people can meet together. However, we do not want rooms to become crowded so recommend groups are no higher than the recommended capacity for the space.

These are:

Lower Lounge – 35

Upper Lounge – 35

Lower Hall – 65

Upper Hall – 65

Church – 80

The vestibule and Bad Homburg room will continue not to be used due to the lack of ventilation.

Your group are advised not to pass round books or share literature. We continue to recommend the use of lateral flow tests for those coming to the church or centre. Around 1 in 3 people with Covid 19 have no symptoms and may spread it unknowingly. Testing ourselves reduces the risk of spreading the virus. Testing kits are available from pharmacies, GP surgeries and online.

We will now permit groups to reintroduce making tea and coffee in the Centre kitchens. We recommend that, to avoid having lots of people gathering close together in kitchen areas, each group appoints one or two people to make drinks for everyone else. Those making drinks are advised to wear face coverings and sanitise their hands regularly.

Singing is now permitted again but we recommend a cautious reintroduction. We recommend that singing is done socially distanced and at low volume. 

Should you become unwell with Covid 19 symptoms during your group meeting, please inform one of the leaders and leave the centre immediately. Go home and contact the NHS.

For NHS Test and Trace purposes your group should continue to keep a register of everyone attending or you can log into our building using the displayed QR code. Each register should be kept for 21 days and then destroyed.

We realise that different people will have different views on the level of risk they are willing to accept.

We give this guidance to do what we can to keep everyone safe and reassure those who are vulnerable to serious illness from Covid 19 or other respiratory illnesses that may be prevalent this year. We will review this guidance regularly and relax it when we feel it is safe to do so. Until then we ask you to be kind and to go on caring for those you meet with.

COVID-19 Testing
We recommend that you follow UK government advice and take a lateral flow test every 3 or 4 days. Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms so these tests help to see if we are carrying the coronavirus. Lateral flow tests are freely available from test sites, some pharmacies, by calling 119 or by visiting:
Centre staff are regularly taking these tests and we urge your group members to consider taking them too.

Lateral flow tests are only for those who do not have the symptoms of COVID-19. If you do have the symptoms of coronavirus, then you must self-isolate and contact the NHS to arrange a PCR test. To do this telephone 119 or visit

Emergency Action Plan

Should someone attending the Palace Gate Centre display symptoms of Coronavirus the following steps will be taken:

1) The person will be asked to leave as soon as possible, return home and seek guidance from NHS 111 as to self-isolation and testing.

2) Anyone known to have been in close contact with the case is advised to wash their hands as soon as possible.

3) Any surfaces likely to have been contaminated will be cleaned in line with cleaning guidance.

4) We ask you to consider whether to bring the service/meeting to an early conclusion.

5) The Centre Manager should be informed of a potential case and file a record of it in the reception office.

Updated Dec 2021