This remains under review, and current indications are that we should be allowed to reopen the temple in early July. We have carried out a risk assessment for when we can welcome everyone back and will need to put a few controls in place for everyone’s safety. These include limiting the number of persons in the temple at any one time to ten, wearing of face masks whilst in the temple, use of hand sanitizer gel provided, and social distancing. We will also ask everyone visiting the temple to sign in with their name and a contact phone number, then if anyone who has visited the temple contacts the Coronavirus they should advise us and we can inform those who may have been affected.
We applied for two additional Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship for Than Thirasak and Than Gai in early March, and have just been advised that these have now been allocated. We are now in a position to commence visa applications as soon as the visa office opens in Thailand, and are hopeful that they can be here sometime in July.
There has also been some progress on our projects … we have now received full planning permission for the new temple hall. This has been a real challenge, and we have had to accept a condition to engage a professional archaeologist to inspect the excavations for the new hall and perimeter wall. We are holding a further design meeting next week with a plan to develop detailed tender documents for Phase 1 – Perimeter walling, and Phase 2 – New Hall building, and the plan is to commence works after Kathina this year.
We have also made some progress with the Peace Garden. We engaged a local structural design consultancy to set out the overall arrangements and elevations. The plans fit very well on the embankment and we hope to be able to site a 6M tall replica of the central Chedi, or Pagoda, at our parent temple in Chiang Mai. This of course needs to be agreed with Halton Council and pass planning, so there is some way to go yet.
The monks are well and still busy redecorating the dais area in the chanting room with the help of Gill Shaw. Mae Chee Shirley-Anne is still staying with her mother in Liverpool, and is holding the weekly meditation guidance online. Hopefully it won’t be too long before she can return to the temple.
We are now able to offer open air services in the temple car park at 10:30 each morning for those who wish to attend the temple to offer dana to the monks, of course we ask everyone to comply with the 2M social distancing guidance.
As always, please let us know of you have any comments or suggestions, and we look forward to seeing you all at the temple again soon,
With Metta (loving kindness)