I know I’m biased but I really do think pubs are important. Closeness with your family and friends and eating and drinking together is part of the fabric of life and keeps our souls nourished and in equilibrium. We need contact with other human beings, especially our loved ones. Or at least most of them. (Beer's good too)
So here we go – an essential service resumes. We’ve tried to keep it as much like the Swan of yore but we have to follow Boris’ rules as well as trying to manage our little business through the financial quagmire. I think the key to this is common sense. The country has been hit by a deadly virus and even though it’s not as bad as we first thought it could flair up again so we need to be sensible and take precautions. We have carefully read HMG’s guidelines, which are actually down to earth and sensible, and this is what we have decided to do:
Changes to opening hours
This is actually not to do with physical safety but with financial safety. Whilst we ease ourselves back into trading we will only be opening Tuesday to Sunday. Food will be available all day as usual, from 12-9pm Tuesday to Saturday and 12-8.30pm on Sundays. We will be taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from Tuesday 4th August.
We ask you to follow the household Government guidance about groups of no more than 6 people from any household, or no more than 10 people from two households. We won’t be able to check who’s who so we trust you to do the right thing.
Getting into the pub and social distancing
In these times it’s not wise to be close to each other. A virus will find it harder to find you if you’re over there.
We ask you to use the proper front door when you arrive at the pub, that is the one on the road. We know many of you have never used it before because it’s round the corner from the patio door but it’s actually a nicer entrance so you might well take to it. If you need a step-free entrance ignore that guidance and use the patio as both entrance and exit.
Once through the door, someone from the staff will take your drink order and help you to find your table. We have made sure that all our tables are safely distanced.
Government Track and Trace scheme
Boris has asked us to get details of our customers in case there’s another outbreak locally. This seems sensible to me so we will keep the booking contact as the main contact and trust that you can supply HMG with all other people in your party if needed. We won’t keep this information for longer than we are asked to by the authorities and we won’t give it to anyone else. We respect our customers privacy and will not exploit the situation.
Our housekeeping team do a really good job of keeping the pub clean even in normal times. I’m always proud of how the place looks. During these Covid days we have extended the cleaning hours to allow common contact surfaces to be cleaned every day. In addition to this we will have cleaning throughout the day. It can’t be perfect, viruses are tenacious little devils, but it all helps.
Our staff will do their best to keep a safe distance where possible during service. Cutlery will be placed in tankards on your table, and will be replaced after each sitting. Alongside this, salt and pepper shakers and table surfaces will be sanitised regularly through the day. We will be looking after you at your table, so please do not go up to the bar to order your food or drink. Individual use menus will be found on the table, then recycled and replaced after each sitting. Every menu will have a QR code so you can scan it and read the menu on your own device if you so choose.
The principle is that we’re going to have table service so you don’t need to go to the bar. Tom and I are devastated that we can’t have people huddled around the counter, it’s so lovely to have all those people chatting with one another. After all this is a large part of what a pub is about. However we must be sensible so we’ll be discouraging this but have instead devoted the whole of the far end of the pub's tables for drinkers.
We’ve never booked outside tables and we won’t be doing so now but you are more than welcome to sit outside where there will be full table service. Again, please resist visiting the bar and instead wait for a member of staff to come over and take your order, whether it be drinks or food.
We have thought about having some sort of system for marshalling people using the loos but have decided that we should trust you to keep social distancing in the toilets, and toilet corridor. It should be fairly easy as there’s plenty of room. We will be cleaning the high touch points at least every hour.
Pay by contactless card if you can or perhaps one of those smart phone apps. We will take cash if we need to.
If you feel unwell, or are in contact with someone showing COVID symptoms, please give us a call and we will happily rearrange your reservation for another day when you are feeling better.
Let me remind you of the end of Henry V’s rousing speech before the battle of Agincourt. You know the one, “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more ….” , that finishes:
"I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
Cry ‘God for Harry! England! and Saint George!’ "
It’s probably a bit over the top for the village pub reopening but we are both very excited to be back.
Cheers, Tom and Jerry.