Covid Update 24th December 2020
Sadly our two pubs in Somerset – The Swan, Wedmore & The White Hart, Somerton – are obliged to close after Christmas Day having been placed in Tier 3. The good news though is that our three hotels – Timbrell’s Yard, Bradford on Avon, The Grosvenor Arms, Shaftesbury & The King’s Arms, Dorchester – all remain in Tier 2 and are open.
We are running with all the normal Covid secure provisions to keep both you and our staff as safe as we can. The main provisions to be aware of now are:
- As before all staff and guests are asked to wear face coverings in public areas.
- And distancing needs to be maintained between both guests and staff.
- No household mixing is allowed indoors. If you have booked a table and this is a problem, please contact us to rebook or cancel.
- We have covered and heated seating outside and friends can mix there in groups of up to 6. You can also book tables in this area.
- Last orders are at 10pm but guests can remain in public areas until 11pm.
- Whilst we can serve coffee, tea and all soft drinks as normal, we can only serve alcohol with a substantial meal.
Room bookings remain as normal except if you are travelling from a tier 3 area. Unfortunately that is not allowed, so please get in touch and we will rebook or cancel.
Over Christmas there are some special rules covering family bubbles. Unfortunately they only apply at home and do not change things in our business and we can still only sit single households together. We are also unable to have mixed household group room bookings. Please get in touch if that affects a booking you have made.
We have completely overhauled our business to adapt to the effects of this virus. Here is a guide to the main changes that we have made, with the proviso that there may be further adjustments as we respond to government guidance, which can change from time to time. We have made more adjustments following Government changes announced on 22nd September.
A business like ours is well used to dealing with rigorous health & safety standards but we have also brought in a leading safety consultancy called Food Alert to provide a comprehensive ‘Covid-19 Standard’ audit. This checks our whole approach to dealing with Covid-19 including our documentation, people, premises & physical distancing, cleaning and PPE. And on top of all of that we have also had an AA Covid audit.
Our staff are obliged to have a temperature check every day before their shift & fill in a health questionnaire. Anyone with any Covid-19 symptoms is not to start a shift and we will check that the correct self-isolation procedures are then followed. Everyone will have the appropriate personal protection equipment in line with the latest government guidelines and will have been trained in the new service techniques to meet health & safety standards. This will include face coverings.
Our staff have been trained to sanitise their hands before taking anything to our guests and again if they remove anything from the table.
We now offer a choice of table service styles which will be explained on arrival. Normal waiting service (with appropriate distancing) and disposable menus will always be available for all guests.
All customers and guests will be expected to wear face coverings at all times except when sitting down to eat or drink, or where they have legitimate reasons not to.
We have made some quite big changes to our furniture layout to increase the gaps between groups and meet Government advice on physical distancing. This includes adding screens where necessary to manage gaps. We have done it in a way which we hope maintains a great atmosphere and we have done our best to get around the challenges of working in old and beautiful buildings. There will be some circulation areas where it will be difficult to avoid getting close to each other and we just ask that everyone uses common sense and maintains a great sense of humour!
We will carefully control the number of people in the building and have new hosting arrangements so that we can control movement on the floor and help our customers through these changes and manage any stresses and strains. We will be providing table service only in all parts of the building.
We now close at 10pm every night and last orders in the bar are at 9.30pm and last table bookings are at 8.45pm.
We also provide the official NHS QR code in at least two places so that you can help the track and trace system if you wish. We will however still need to separately take contact details for our own records.
Hand sanitisers are distributed around the building for your use.
Clearly even more important than ever, we have full time front of house cleaning staff (you will easily spot the bright yellow shirt) on duty all through service wiping down surfaces and providing hand sanitiser for customers and staff. Hand sanitiser stations have been placed around the property so that they can be used easily.
Restaurant & Bar
We’re booking tables for the restaurant as usual but limiting numbers to meet distancing rules. We really encourage early booking, as our capacity is reduced from before. We are also making a number of changes to the way cutlery and condiments are provided to minimise contact and we apologise in advance if they seem a little cumbersome.
The bar is slightly different as it is now table service only. Sadly, you can’t stand at the bar as before – but luckily, we have plenty of tables so there’s no need to book if you just want to have a drink. Overnight guests will be asked to book a breakfast time the night before and the buffet will not be allowed for the time being.
Check in and out has been changed to minimise the need for personal contact: You will receive an email the day arrival which enables you to check in online. We have also updated our room confirmation information.
In bedrooms we are introducing single use only items and removing some soft furnishings and other items that can’t be so easily sanitised between stays. Our old room information brochure (full of the most interesting information!) has been thrown in the bin but is now downloadable via phone using a QR code in the room. We can provide a disposable hard copy if needed too.
We have prepared a suite of risk assessments for trading under the new Government guidelines. These can be seen by clicking on the logo for each site.