From the 4th of July we will be reopening in a form in line with prevailing Government rules. Whilst we won’t be able run a normal operation, we intend to offer something as close as possible… Please remember that any rules etc that are in place are not of our making, but are what we are required to do. If you don’t like them, bear in mind that we probably don’t either – but they are in place for a reason so please respect them, other customers and our staff. None of the following will be forever!
- Drinks will only be available in the garden, the pub itself will initially remain closed due to restrictions relating to social distancing, but we hope to make some dining space available in due course.
- A one-way system will be in place to access the garden, garden bar and toilets, with queuing arrangements where necessary. Please follow this at all times, it’s not like great distances are involved.
- The Car park will be open, but may be more limited space wise if we need more seating areas. Please drive in carefully as people will be moving around the entranceway & parking area. If you run someone over you will be liable for their bar bill.
- Table space in the garden will be limited, but we hope it will be adequate most of the time – if it proves otherwise we will endeavour to increase capacity over the coming weeks. You are allowed to stand and drink, subject to distancing guidelines and ‘bubble’ rules.
- All Distancing & ‘Bubble’ rules apply in the garden in the same way as anywhere else. We don’t need to know who you are allowed to be with, but ask that you follow the prevailing rules whilst on the premises. If you don’t fully understand the ‘bubble’ rules, I think it involves how many people can be in your garden staring at your dahlias per hour per evening on a Tuesday.
- We are required to collect and keep for 21 days contact details of all customers. We have yet to be told how exactly we are to do this. We are not happy at all about having keep your personal data, but be assured that we don’t have a use or need for your phone number/email unless it’s about a booking you have made. We will not target you with funny pictures of pangolins etc. In any case, you are not obliged to provide contact details. So whilst we legally have to collect it, you, legally, don’t have to give it. Confused? Imagine how we feel.
- We won’t have a huge range of drinks to offer because we don’t have the space, and the bar will have to be run by one isolated person and our priority will be to serve as quickly (and therefore simply) as possible. So please don’t get upset if you can’t have a Martini & Custard or whatever. We will review the offering as we go, as per demand etc. But there will be our normal lagers, still and fizzy cider, cask beers, basic spirits plus a couple of special gins & single malts. Soft drinks will be available. As will a grunt if you order a top, you lightweight.
- We won’t be running table service as we have safe distanced (& will soon have Screened) the serving area for the garden bar. This will reduce the unscreened contact between customers and staff, making it safer for all. We ask that people re-use their glasses, and that buying large rounds will be discouraged. We will have a glass depositing area, and ask that you leave empty glasses there and not on your table. Repeat offenders will be served in plastic drinkingware.
- Payment will be by contactless card only, this is purely to reduce the amount of different things that staff need to handle. That said we hate to see a customer leave with bulging pockets, so exceptions can be made if you ask really, really nicely.
- You will not need any of the dozen plus apps on your phone to purchase drinks from us, so Luddites remain welcome (not that they will be reading this anyway).
- Food will initially remain limited to pre-ordered takeaways only. You may choose to eat your takeaway in the garden but we will not yet be providing hard plates, cutlery or table service. Just say when ordering your takeaway that you wish to eat in the garden, and we will ensure that disposable cutlery & plates will be included in your bag. Condiment/sauce sachets will be available at the food collection point. You may of course bring your own plates etc. This is a temporary measure as it appears we will remain busy with takeaway food and it will prove difficult to safely employ the additional kitchen staff to manage plates & cutlery (we have a very small kitchen). This arrangement will be reviewed daily as we see how trade will settle in with the latest ‘normal’. Once we have worked out to ensure proper tableware won’t kill you, we will provide it.
- Takeaway food will need to be collected from the main bar (for now) via the front door only. Timed slots will continue as they have during full lockdown. No drinks may be taken into the pub, and we will not be serving drinks (takeaway or otherwise) inside the pub.
- Toilets will be accessible, but only by one person at a time in each toilet. Even on a Wednesday. A queuing system will be marked out. We ask that customers use their own initiative in making this work, as paying someone to constantly supervise the toilets will make opening unviable. Please note ‘initiative’ is not a type of hedge or shrub.
- At busy times we will have a ‘Pub Monitor’ keeping an eye on things. This will be done at a safe distance, but please follow any instruction they give – they will be clearly marked with an important looking badge. They may be the cheerful, youthful and svelte looking landlord, or may be a trusted customer who fancies some free drinks. They will not be your personal servant (unless you can come to an agreement with them in advance).
- Children and dogs will need to be kept under control and not running around – we want people to feel safe in the garden and able to remain as distanced as they are comfortable with. Likewise, we want people to bring children and dogs as well, but we need to strike a happy medium.
- Because of our world renowned long, hot and dry British summers, we will have some covered shaded areas available. These can also be used in case it might rain or get cold.
- Few rules survive contact with alcohol, but these one will have to. Any new cases of Covid19 in Braughing and surrounding areas will probably mean local pubs etc will have to close again, and pub landlords & landladies may prove very keen to ensure that doesn’t happen. After all, a few minutes stupidity could cause the loss of a business, livelihood, life savings & a home.
We fully expect that all pubs will be monitored, and whilst we understand the will be some understanding and patience from officialdom, we – unlike shops – can be closed instantly & indefinitely by a number of official bodies for any reason. This means we have to apply the required rules, and be seen to ensure the rules are followed by staff & customers. At the moment there is still no fully clear guidance between what is required and what is advisory, so all pubs are having to partially interpret the rules as they see them. We will constantly monitor the guidance, how other pubs are interpreting things, and what issues/reactions/suggestions we get from customers. Health etc aside, all of this is an extra burden on us in terms of time, admin and cost, so please be assured none of the above would be in place in normal circumstances. So we ask that you, like us, just keep smiling, go with the current flow, and remember that one day, hopefully not too far away, we will all be back to normal. Whatever that was.
See you all soon, and keep safe,
Steve & Catherine