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Bellringing will need to wait

by Michael Ford last modified 07 May, 2020 09:45 PM

Bellringers are being told that it is "too early for any return to ringing."

In a statement from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, which issues the latest guidance on coronavirus, the Council say:

"The current suspension of all ringing of any kind should remain in place. This includes chiming of single bells and the use of Ellacombe chimes."

They add that they will be sharing their guidance with the Church of England and ringing societies, and where possible with other bell owning organisations.

The Council says that over recent weeks Dr Phillip Barnes, a recently retired NHS Consultant and Medical Director as well as a member of the CCCBR Executive, has been reviewing the emerging scientific and medical evidence about COVID-19 and what it means for the safety of ringing.

The key issues which affect the safety of ringing are the physical environment of towers including access to ringing rooms, the space between ropes, how to maintain hand hygiene in towers, and the numbers of people in a restricted space for a relatively long period of time.

The Council say, "Even if churches reopen, the environment in towers is very different."

The CCCBR will look at releasing guidance on how it might be possible to restart ringing and what restrictions and precautions would be needed, as the evidence and guidance will be reviewed formally at least monthly as well as in the light of any significant developments.

In a statement issued by the Salisbury Guild, they advised bellringers in our Diocese:

"Until the Central Council issues revised guidance, which will be passed on to you, NO BELLRINGERS should be ringing or chiming our bells."

The Central Council adds:

"We are all as keen as anyone to get back to ringing as soon as possible, but that must only occur when it is completely safe to do so."

There is a video explaining and showing the potential problems with allowing bell ringing to take place, here.

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