Covid restrictions for town and parish councils

When will local councils be able to resume normal business?

This year has been a huge strain on so many lives.

It has been difficult too, to carry out the work of the parish or town council. One of the mainstays of council work is to hold meetings where issues are debated, and decisions are made. An important part of this is the ability of your parishoners to attend and comment on any of the issues.

This has not been easy. Zoom has usually been the application of choice to carry out remote meetings, but it can be far from ideal. There can be problems with setting up the meetings, people being unable to connect or even for the meeting host to connect and start the meeting.

Until recently Zoom allowed unlimited time for multi-user meetings, but that has now ended. In order to hold meetings longer than 40 minutes, you must buy a premium subscription.

So I’m sure everyone is asking, when will councils be able to resume having town or parish council meetings in public spaces such as the village hall.

A slight easing of lockdown that came into force just over 2 weeks ago. You are now able to get haircuts, go shopping and meet limited numbers of friends outside. However, you are still not allowed to meet with others outside your household indoors.

England: covid restrictions

17 May – Up to 6 can meet indoors

The next step will occur on 17th of May. From then on, people can meet in groups of up to 30 outside, and up to 6 people can meet indoors.

This may mean that smaller parish councils can resume their parish council meetings. However, that will still not be enough for larger councils or ones where a lot of your parishoners will wish to attend.

21 June – relaxation of all covid restrictions

21 June will be when the final stage of lockdown release happens. After that date it is hoped that all legal limits on social contact will be removed. That will mean that parish council meetings will be able to resume in their full format.

Scotland: covid restrictions

26 April – up to 6 people can meet outdoors.

17 May – people should be allowed to meet up indoors – initially in groups of up to 4 people from no more than 2 households.

7 June – council meetings will be able to resume.

Wales: covid restrictions

3 May – indoor activities for up to 15 adults.

17 May – up to 30 people can meet indoors.