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Restarting face-to-face group activities - an update

Although lockdown has relaxed over recent weeks, our guidance to local groups has remained that the suspension of all face-to-face services and activities must continue.

Advice to those who have been shielding is being paused, which means that (unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly) many people with MS will be able to go out more, and to begin to socialise again. You can find a summary of the new guidance, and how it varies between the nations, here.

With this significant change in advice, more of our local groups have been asking whether some services and activities can reopen, and we have been working to make this possible. Our Health & Safety Team have been carefully considering the governmental guidance to see what you will need to do to make your services and activities ‘COVID-secure’, and to keep everybody safe. We also need to make sure we have the resources in place to support you with any changes. We recognise, however, that not all groups will feel ready to offer face-to-face activities, and there is no expectation for you to do so if volunteers and members do not feel comfortable.

In the next few weeks, we should be able to issue our own guidance to groups which will allow low-risk activities (such as socials in managed venues) to start up again. We are also working on a new service level agreement (SLA) containing COVID-19 guidance. Once you have an updated SLA in place with your provider, you will be able to restart face-to-face services such as physiotherapy and exercise groups.

We will be in touch with our groups soon, to confirm the date for re-starting low-risk activities, and to give you some advance notice for getting the new SLAs in place. In the meantime, we advise you not to plan any face-to-face meetings until the guidance is ready and you are clear about requirements. You can still provide online exercise classes using the risk assessment and disclaimer documents here, and we will continue to offer training to use Zoom video-conferencing to keep people connected.

Thank you for your patience as we work towards this.