Updated 22nd September to add FAQs, information about the new 10pm curfew, and new approved venues.
As you may know the law changed on 14th September, making gatherings of over 6 people illegal except in very specific circumstances. As such, this guidance aims to inform CCSU clubs and societies about their obligations to protect their members and the wider community, and how to put on events in a way that is safe and legal.
All club and society committee members must familiarise themselves with the Union’s Student Group Events Policy (COVID-19). In summary:
Student groups are strongly encouraged to take a ‘virtual first’ approach to events.
No purely social activity involving more than 6 people is permitted to be held physically, in accordance with the law.
Events that have an educational or charitable purpose may be permitted, but groups are required to submit a risk assessment demonstrating that social distancing requirements are in place.
Approved venues for student group events meeting the above criteria are listed below, under "society meetings and events". Groups planning events of over 6 people in other venues will be additionally required to submit the venue’s own risk assessment.
No student group event may go ahead unless formal written approval has been given by the Students’ Union, following completion of the above process.
Sanctions for holding unauthorised and potentially illegal events could result in groups being disbanded, your academic progress may be affected and you could face fines or police action.
Organised sporting activity is exempt from the “rule of six”, although each sport will have specific adaptations depending on its national governing body requirements. We are working alongside Christ Church Sport & Active Health to put in place plans for training and physical activity for each club, and the specific requirements will be detailed in each club’s risk assessment.
Update 22nd September: indoor team sports are no longer exempt from the "rule of six". We are working with Christ Church Sport & Active Health on this and will update as soon as we can.
Society meetings and events
We encourage all societies to hold their events virtually. Physical gatherings of more than 6 people may be permitted, if the event can demonstrate an educational or charitable purpose. For most societies if an event fits with your society’s objectives, or the broader objectives of the Union, this is likely to fulfill the requirements - if you’re not sure, talk to one of the sabbatical officers who can help and advise you. We require you to submit a risk assessment five working days before holding a face to face event demonstrating how social distancing will be assured, and that it is held in a COVID-secure venue (for September only, you may submit the risk assessment up to two working days in advance). Groups planning to use a venue that is not on our approved list will additionally need to submit a copy of the venue’s risk assessment, which will need to be approved by CCSU. Events of over 6 people that are purely social in nature will not be approved.
Approved venues (updated 22nd September):
University premises, including The Lounge
Club Chemistry (now operating as a bar)
Tokyo Tea Rooms (now operating as a bar)
The Sportsman Cafe
We recognise that it will be disappointing to you all that you cannot hold social activities in the way that you are used to, but the law has changed and student groups must abide by it. No purely social activity involving more than 6 people is permitted to be held physically. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces, including private homes and gardens, public spaces such as parks, and venues such as pubs and restaurants. Students may attend social events held in COVID-secure venues, but this must be in groups of 6 or fewer: as such no club or society social event may take place physically.
House parties of more than 6 people are now illegal. The police have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notice) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200. A recent case in Nottingham resulted in the student organiser being fined £10,000 by the local police.
Virtual events can be fun, engaging and inclusive. See here for 101 ideas for exciting virtual events - Zoom quizzes are great, but there are many more things you could do to provide fun events for your members and keep your community thriving. The COVID-19 risks are minimal, but there are still things to consider when running virtual events, so groups are asked to submit a short checklist at least two, but ideally five, working days before the event, and may be asked to submit a risk assessment.
Breaking the law
Let’s be clear, this guidance is to help you to obey the law: it is vital that student groups know and understand the new legislation. Breaking the law puts vulnerable members of the local community, including other students and staff, at risk of a potentially fatal virus. As such, the Union and University take any breaches of the law or government guidance very seriously and may take disciplinary action: for clubs and societies, this could result in your group being disbanded, and for individuals this could impact your academic progress. In addition, you may face police action including significant fines.
Thank you for doing your part to help stop the spread of the virus. If you’d like advice on planning a socially distanced or virtual event, do contact one of our sabbatical officers or the Union’s Opportunities Manager who will be happy to help you.
Student Group Events Policy (COVID-19)
Virtual Event Checklist
Physical Event Risk Assessment
Government Coronavirus FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Do groups have to do a checklist for recurring virtual events every time (ie a weekly Zoom call)?
No - just let us know in the form if the event will be recurring.
If it’s just the committee meeting to plan, do we need to submit a checklist or risk assessment?
Only if there’s more than 6 of you meeting physically, we count “virtual events” as those open to all members of your society or all students.
Can groups travel together on the train and bus, or would we still have to stick to bubbles and socially distance whilst travelling?
You can travel together provided you wear a mask and socially distance from anyone you don’t live with.
Can we car-share?
Government advice is to not car-share with anyone you don’t live with. If car sharing is absolutely necessary, you should wear masks, open windows and ensure you clean door handles between journeys. You can read the government guidance here.
When will the Union minibuses be available?
We are completing risk assessments this week and will let you know when the minibuses are available again, and the procedures you need to follow.
Can we do physical fundraising?
We strongly encourage groups to use the Union’s JustGiving site to fundraise virtually: with government guidance encouraging workers to work from home if they can, it is unlikely that a member of staff will be in the office to organise charity buckets.
Is the “two households” rule still in place for indoor events?
No - the “rule of six” has replaced the previous rule, but when meeting in groups of up to 6 you should socially distance from anyone you don’t live with.
Can we go to externally organised events?
Yes, in groups of 6 or fewer, and ensuring you stay in your group and socially distance from anyone you don’t live with. You can’t book multiple tables and advertise it as a student group event: this is not permitted under government guidelines. Physical socials of more than six people are not permitted.
What if the venue advises us we can do something that is against Union guidance?
As CCSU clubs and societies, you need to follow the Union’s guidance and procedures. If you’re not sure, check with one of the sabbatical officers.
What could happen if we break the rules?
The Union can take action against groups that break our rules, which could include removing members from a group, removing members from committee positions, banning groups from running physical events, or in extreme cases disbanding a group entirely. The University can also take action against individual students, which could include suspension or expulsion from your course. The police might fine you for breaking the “rule of six”: from 24th September, the basic fine doubled to £200 and could be much higher.
What’s this about a 10pm curfew?
From Thursday 24th September, pubs and restaurants will close by 10pm. All physical events of more than 6 people must finish by 10pm.
Can we have a statement from CCSU to share with our members?
Yes, please feel free to share the below with your members.
As your Students’ Union, we are all about bringing students together and giving you the best possible student experience. We know how important clubs and societies are to the student experience, and how important it is to meet people with similar interests and form communities. We also know that the restrictions required to stop the spread of Covid-19 make this more difficult. Unfortunately, the law specifies that you must not gather in groups of more than six people in any indoor or outdoor space. There are exemptions for organised outdoor sporting activities, and events with an educational or charitable purpose, and we have worked hard to support and facilitate these as far as we can within the law and guidance. However, we are encouraging all student groups to take a “virtual first” approach to meet-ups, and no physical social events are permitted until government guidance changes. Thank you all for your understanding and support in limiting the spread of the virus.
Christ Church Students’ Union