COVID-19 Policy

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This Hackspace policy includes the measures we are actively taking to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and the steps you must follow if you wish to use the Hackspace facilities. The policy also details times when the Hackspace may require to close during the pandemic. You are requested to follow all these rules diligently, to ensure a healthy and safe facility for our community. This coronavirus (COVID-19) company policy is subject to regular review and changes with the introduction of additional governmental guidelines. If the policy is updated, the trustees will update you as soon as possible by email to the members’ mailing list. This policy is owned by the East Essex Hackspace trustees with inputs from the reopening group and wider membership. Please email the trustees with any questions or comments at [email protected] Status The current date for the end of restrictions is the 19th July, however this may be extended further.


This policy applies to all Hackspace users including members, guests, visitors and members of the public. It defines who may use the Hackspace premises and the procedures that must be followed before, during and after your visit to ensure the safety of our community. Please note that we cannot completely eliminate the risk from COVID-19, however, we are doing all that is reasonably practical to reduce the risk.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

NHS England provides an overview of COVID-19 Symptoms at Use this, or other materials provided by NHS England, to keep up-to-date with the latest understood symptoms of COVID-19. If you, a member of your household, or a member of your support bubble are experiencing any of these symptoms then DO NOT VISIT THE HACKSPACE and consult the NHS for advice.

The main symptoms to be aware of are:

  • A raised temperature - either you feel hot to touch on your chest or back, or a thermometer reads 37.8C or higher
  • A continuous cough - coughing a lot for an hour, or more than three episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Core Principles

Our policy is based on the following core principles

  • Keep within the law, including closing when required to do so
  • Follow the latest government guidance that applies to creative spaces, studios and technology companies
  • Risk assess activities
  • Advise users to keep their use of premises to essential use where possible and encourage “Hacking at Home”
  • Restrict occupancy through the use of a booking system to ensure 2m social distancing at all times
  • Introduce regular cleaning and ensure users maintain a clean and tidy facility
  • Enforce preventative measures (e.g. hand cleaning, mask use etc)
  • Carry out contact tracing should the need arise

What We Are Doing

The trustees are taking a proactive approach to safety including

  • Carrying out and regularly reviewing risk assessments of activities
  • Keeping up to date with guidance
  • Providing hand sanitiser in all rooms and installed hot water to G1 for hand washing
  • Setting up a booking system to ensure a maximum capacity is maintained
  • Regularly cleaning all communal contact areas
  • Defining COVID-19 policy

COVID-19 Procedures

The following procedures apply to all users visiting the Hackspace premises. These rules are mandatory for all users of the space unless specified as optional or advisory in the text. Who Can Use The Space? The rules for using the space depend on current government advice from and you must follow the rules on

At Tiers 2 and 3:

The Hackspace will open to members and you must not bring visitors to the Hackspace or allow access to the public. Where you would otherwise be lone working or require assistance with a project for health and safety reasons (e.g. manual handling) you may bring one member of your household (including any bubble) to assist you. You must ensure that the household member has read and agreed to this policy, provides contact details (in the instance that contact tracing is required) and that you book exclusive use of the room you are working. If a non-member requires access for any other reason, please contact the Hackspace Trustees. Where some areas are in a different Tier to Hawkwell, travel restrictions may apply between regions. Please check current government guidance. During change of tiers The trustees will review policy. Significant changes are not expected until the 2m social distancing requirement is reduced/removed.

Returning to a full lockdown

The space will be closed to members as required by law. Members will be removed from the access control system to enforce this. A small number of exceptions apply, although where possible these activities must be carried out from home:

  • Hackspace management activities (e.g. risk assessment, maintenance, preparation for reopening, cleaning)
  • Production/manufacturing activity (e.g. if the use of the Hackspace provides you with an income and the activity cannot be done elsewhere)
  • Essential vehicle maintenance (e.g. bicycle or car repair)
  • Repair of equipment critical to the basic function of your home (e.g. replacing a plug on your microwave)
  • Recovering property from the lockers or store room.
  • Manufacturing where the critical national infrastructure exemption applies (e.g. volunteering to manufacture face shields)

For clarity, any activities relating to leisure, entertainment or education are not allowed. If an exception applies, please email the trustees for access with details of why you need access and what times would be suitable. We will attempt to accommodate reasonable requests and ensure single occupancy of the rooms you need. Before Your Visit Please plan your visit carefully. As a Hackspace user you are responsible for managing your own risks and you may have specific health concerns making you more susceptible to COVID-19. You should consider the risks to yourself and whether your visit is necessary.


  • You must book your use of the space before entering the premises and abide by room capacity limits
  • Do not attend the Hackspace if you are required to self-isolate or quarantine, or if you believe you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. if you or a household member contracts Coronavirus, if contacted by Test and Trace or in the case of returning from travel)
  • You must scan the NHS test and trace posters to check in and check out of the Hackspace
  • Do not use the Hackspace for social meetups or entertaining. As an unstaffed venue, this will be reviewed in line with the in-home rules.


  • Consider how you will get to the Hackspace. Walking, cycling or car are lower risk than using public transport
  • Plan your work carefully as you must fully clear and tidy your work area before your booking ends
  • Consider bringing extra clothes as the Hackspace can be cold when ventilation systems are boosted.
  • Bring your own PPE
  • Consider installing the NHS app on your phone to provide Bluetooth exposure notifications.

How To Book

In order to safely manage capacity and avoid disappointment when travelling to the lab, a booking system has been implemented. The booking system is available at xxx To ensure access to the space is fairly available to all members, some limits have been set. If you believe you need to exceed these limits, contact the trustees who can provide exceptions reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

  • You can only book a slot within the next two weeks
  • You are limited to a maximum of 10 hours of future reservations per week. This ensures fair use by preventing large blocks of bookings. As your bookings pass you can book more future slots, up to the 10 hour maximum.
  • You can only book 50 hours per month in total
  • Bookings have a gap between them to reduce exposure risk

Each room has a maximum safe capacity which must be respected to ensure 2m social distancing:

  • Social Space - Six people
  • Laser cutting - Individual occupancy only
  • Workshops – Individual occupancy / one from support or household bubble only. Please note in booking if you need any specific machines to help coordinate
  • Computer space – 2 people in alternative corners of the spaceAll spaces must be booked with the exception for necessary/transient access to the kitchen, shop, printing, mail or storage.

For the computer lab, we recognise that members who are at higher risk may require exclusive access to the room. You may book both areas if this is required. If you need an additional quota to do this then please let the trustees know. If you cannot attend you must cancel your booking as soon as possible to let others attend.

During Your Visit

When you arrive, please restrict your time in shared spaces to a minimum and proceed directly to the area you have booked. Rules:

  • Wear a face covering on the premises at all times, unless you have a medical exemption. The rule applies within the work areas, even with exclusive use, to ensure the safety for the next user.
  • Sanitise or wash your hands on arrival. Hand sanitiser is provided on the lockers, and soap and hot water are available in the kitchen.
  • Scan the NHS test and trace barcode when you arrive and when you leave for Test and Trace.
  • Use your token on the main door. This further logs your visit for contact tracing purposes.
  • Keep 2m from other users at all times unless they are a member of your household.
  • Turn on the boost mode on the ventilation fans (available in each workshop) to ensure rooms are well ventilated.
  • Please knock and stand back from a door if you need access to another room (e.g. for a tool or accessing storage). Leave enough time for the user to answer and respect room capacity limits.
  • Use single use or personal PPE where possible. Disposable earplugs are provided and all users may take one pair of safety glasses for their personal use (please keep in your storage box). Please contact the trustees regarding Welding operations or the Grinding shields for a specific risk assessment and safe cleaning procedure.
  • Do not stay beyond your booking
  • Before leaving, fully tidy your work (take it home or leave it in your storage box) and clean your work area including any tools, equipment and PPE used
  • Close doors at the end of your visit for security


  • Check your work area is clean before working. Cleaning products are provided if you wish to use them before starting work. Please email the trustees if the area you have booked is untidy or unclean (with photos if possible). This helps us ensure accountability.
  • If someone without a booking is using the area, please safely ask them to clear up and leave and inform the trustees.
  • If you require the toilet, ensure single occupancy and wash hands thoroughly after use
  • Regularly sanitise or wash your hands during the visit
  • Any waste, especially where it may be contaminated with bodily fluids (e.g. tissues, paper towels, bottles and cans) must be placed in the bins. Gloves and a mask should be worn when emptying bins and hands thoroughly cleaned afterwards
  • Avoid touching your face or face mask unnecessarily
  • Doors can be left open to increase ventilation and air the room while tidying
  • Leave plenty of time to clean and tidy your work area
  • Consider installing the NHS App on your phone.

In An Emergency

  • If you need to give first aid to another user, gloves and a mask must be worn. If possible, you should help the casualty to treat themselves while maintaining a distance. All incidents must be reported immediately to the trustees.
  • In the event of a fire, please exit the building promptly by the nearest fire exit. Maintain 2m social distancing at the muster point

Please consider the additional risks of lone working and plan accordingly. We advise ensuring that someone knows when you are using the Hackspace and checking in with them when complete.

What To Do If Challenged

During this period, it’s possible that the Hackspace may be visited by officials to ensure compliance with the law, guidance and policies. These people may include the Police or Council Officers. If you are challenged (and working within this guidance), explain that you are carrying out permitted work in accordance with the East Essex Hackspace COVID-19 policy and refer any enquiry to the trustees, providing the official with the [email protected] email address. Ensure you ask the official for their name, contact phone number, email address and reason for their visit. Please contact the trustees immediately to note the visit and provide us with any details you can. We will liaise with the official for further guidance. If you are asked to cease the activity and/or shut the space then please follow these instructions and contact the trustees. Operating without this policy is at your own risk and members will be responsible for their own actions including any fines or penalties imposed (e.g. if found to be using the space for a social gathering).

After Your Visit

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms in the 10 days following your visit you must email the trustees to enable contact tracing to take place: You should also contact the NHS to arrange a test and further contact tracing.


We hope that all members will abide by these rules as they are designed to keep you and other members of the Hackspace community safe. It is forseeable that in some circumstances (perhaps due to carelessness, ignorance of the risks, or other factors), members may sometimes fall short of the expected standards of behaviour and cleanliness required to keep the Hackspace a safe space. We hope minor issues can be dealt with by informal reminders from other members. In the event of more serious or repeated rule-breaking, the following procedures have been developed. Actions taken under these procedures is to ensure the safety of the Hackspace community and compliance with the law.

Minor Issues

We hope minor issues can be dealt with by way of an informal reminder from other users without any escalation. Examples:

  • Neglecting to wear a mask (unless exempt)
  • Entering a room at capacity
  • Hygiene issues
  • Minor social distancing failures (while wearing masks)

What to do:

  • In the first instance, remind other users of the expectations in this policy from a safe distance.
  • Inform the trustees of refusal or continued breaches, or if you feel uncomfortable / unsafe.

Moderate Breaches

We operate a three-strikes policy with increasing severity. If you find issues such as housekeeping and tidiness when you arrive at your booking or if someone else is using the space, please email the trustees (with photographs if possible). Examples:

  • Repeated minor breaches
  • Refusal to use the booking system
  • Next user finds room untidy/unclean
  • Leaving the premises unsecured (e.g. closing windows at end of the booking)

What to do:

  • Inform the trustees

What the trustees will do:

  • Investigate the situation (e.g. check door logs) and speak to users
  • In the first instance, remind members of the rules and gain agreement that they will comply in future
  • In the second instance, issue a final warning that behaviour must improve and any further incidents within a specified time will result in further action. The time period is at the discretion of the trustees
  • A third breach will result in a temporary suspension of membership and removal from the access control and booking systems for a time at the discretion of the trustees. Subscription payments will not be due for any suspension longer than 1 month
  • On return, conditions may be issued to ensure improved behaviour. Continued non-compliance may result in termination of membership.

Serious Breaches

Any serious issues should be immediately brought to the trustees as they may require rapid action. Access may be temporarily suspended pending an investigation Examples:

  • Blatant refusal to comply with COVID policies (e.g. large groups using the lab, parties, putting others in immediate harm)
  • Using the space with COVID symptoms or while you should otherwise be isolating/quarantined
  • Serious breaches of COVID laws
  • Violence, abuse or harassment of other members or users
  • Intentional endangerment of others

What to do:

  • Make yourself safe
  • Inform the trustees immediately

What the trustees will do:

  • Temporarily suspend access
  • Investigate the situation and interview those concerned
  • Take appropriate action
  • On return, conditions may be issued to ensure improved behaviour.