Re-opening | Keeping our guests and staff safe

Re-opening the Packhorse | How we will be keeping our guests and staff safe

Key Reference: Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services; HM Government (23 June 2020)

Primary Objective: Our primary objective in re-opening the Packhorse is to do so in a manner that is aligned with public health guidance (see key reference) in order to keep our guests and staff safe. Following a COVID-19 risk assessment, this document describes the key operational practices we are adopting to minimise all related risks. 

Key messages for our guests:

Please read this as a minimum – the rest provides the detail if you are interested.

  1. Please just listen to (and respect) any requests our Packhorse team may ask of you – any such requests will only be as a function of necessary new practices (e.g. collecting contact details etc).
  2. Please wait at the front of the pub to be met and taken to your table; please sanitise your hands before entering. 
  3. Please stay at your table – all orders will be taken from you there and food/drinks brought back to your table. 
  4. If we do not have your details from an online booking – please leave your name and contact telephone details on our feedback card (all feedback encouraged also!); please leave this with a member of the Packhorse team – or drop in the suggestions box (just inside the rear door) before you leave. 
  5. Please follow the simple, one-way system: in through the front door – out via the garden side entrance (past the toilets). 
  6. Please use the garden toilets if on an outside table and the indoor toilets if inside (all working on a “one in, out basis”). 
  7. Please just follow social distancing guidelines (when using the toilets for example). 

That’s it really – enjoy your visit to the Packhorse. Together, we will slowly get back to normal life.

Finally to say, …. we have missed you!!!

And for those … who would like the detail:

Risk Assessment: 

All employers must carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment. COVID-19 is a public health emergency. Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19 and in particular we have considered the risks to our staff and customers and thought about the risks they face and have done everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising we cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

Our risk assessment has addressed the risks of COVID-19 and we have taken appropriate measures to mitigate them. We have shared the results of our risk assessment with our workforce and you can find a copy of the results of this assessment (this document!) on our website and on our noticeboard in the pub.

Key actions and revised operational practices:

  1. We will encourage increased frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning. We will use signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency and to avoid touching your face, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow. We will encourage customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the pub and will provide sanitiser in multiple locations in the pub.


  1. We will keep the “activity time” involved in a drink or meal as short as possible, by allocating time “slots” to each customer.


  1. We will manage interactions at the pub resulting from taking orders or service of food and drink, by minimising contact between front of house staff and customers at points of service where appropriate – always maintaining social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).


  1. We will use back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible and we will reduce the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).


  1. We will support the NHS Test and Trace system by keeping a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.


  1. All customers inside the pub will need to be seated at a table and an indoor table will only be allowed for a group of up to two households (including support bubbles).


  1. All customers outside the pub will also need to be seated at a table and an outdoor table will only be allowed for a group of up to two households (or support bubbles), or a group of at most six people from any number of households.


  1. We have a plan for maintaining social distancing guidelines in the event of adverse weather conditions, being clear that customers cannot seek shelter indoors unless social distancing can be maintained.


  1. At this time, we will not permit live music and will ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult and that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission.


  1. We will use social distance markings, where necessary, to remind customers to maintain social distancing between customers of different households or support bubbles.


  1. We will minimise customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments to reduce risk of transmission, and provide cutlery and condiments only when food is served. We will provide only disposable condiments or will clean non-disposable condiment containers after each use.


  1. As far as possible, we will no longer accept cash and will encourage contactless payments where possible and adjust use of card readers to comply with social distancing guidelines.


  1. We will reduce the number of surfaces touched by both staff and customers, by asking customers to remain at a table and not to lean on bars etc.


  1. We are making efforts to set up a mobile booking app, so customers can order from their table online.


Our customers:


  1. We have calculated the maximum number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines at the pub. We have taken into account total indoor and outdoor space, specific characteristics of the pub, such as furniture as well as likely pinch points and busy areas, and reconfigured indoor and outdoor seating and tables to maintain social distancing guidelines between customers of different households or support bubbles. For example, we have increased the distance between tables.


  1. We are reducing the need for customers to queue, but where this is unavoidable, we will discourage customers from queueing indoors and will use outside space (front car park) for queueing. We will manage outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, by introducing queuing systems. We will use social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach to certain areas, with one in, one out, whilst using one way systems to avoid the creation of bottlenecks.


  1. We will provide clear guidance on expected customer behaviour, social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, using signage, visual aids and, before arrival, using our website, booking system and emails. We will make customers aware of, and encourage compliance with limits on gatherings, on arrival and at booking.


  1. We will manage the entry of customers, and the number of customers at the pub, so that all indoor customers are seated with appropriate distancing, and those outdoors also have appropriately spaced seating. This is to ensure that the pub, including areas of congestion does not become overcrowded. We will manage numbers within the pub mainly through our reservation and table booking systems, social distancing markings, having customers queue at a safe distance for toilets and bringing payment machines to customers. We have looked at how people move through the pub and have made adjustments to reduce congestion and contact between customers, for example, by one-way flow, where possible.


  1. We will ensure that any changes to entrances, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled customers.


  1. We will remind customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
  2. We will adjust service approaches to minimise staff contact with customers. Table service will be used where possible, and we will assign a single staff member per table. 


  1. We will encourage use of the garden where possible, by increasing outdoor seating areas.


  1. We have adjusted processes to discourage customers from needing to congregate at the bar, by moving to table service only and having only staff collect and return empty glasses to the bar.


  1. Our toilets inside the pub will be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. We will make hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe and practical, and ensure suitable handwashing facilities including running water and liquid soap and suitable options for drying (either paper towels or hand driers) are available. We will set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets, with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage and paying attention to frequently hand touched surfaces, and the use of disposable cloths etc.  We will keep the facilities well ventilated.


  1. We will explain to customers that failure to observe safety measures will result in service not being provided and our staff will remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly.  We will set out the latest guidelines to both staff and customers inside and outside the pub by posters and information setting out how customers should behave at the pub to keep everyone safe and will consider the particular needs of those who are hearing or visually impaired. Where necessary, we will inform customers that police and the local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing and may instruct customers to disperse, leave an area, issue a fixed penalty notice or take further enforcement action.


  1. There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms. However, customers and staff who want to wear a face covering will be allowed to do so but we will inform customers that they should be prepared to remove face coverings safely if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.


Our staff:


  1. We will minimise contact between kitchen staff and front of house staff, by having a zone from which front of house staff can collect food.


  1. We have planned for the minimum number of people needed at the pub to operate safely and effectively, by allowing them to maintain social distancing from one another as well as the public, and by ensuring that:


  • Working areas will be shared by the smallest possible number of people.
  • Providing storage for staff clothes and bags and ensuring that staff change into work uniforms on site using appropriate facilities/changing areas, where social distancing and hygiene guidelines can be met.
  • Washing uniforms on site, where appropriate, or request our staff to regularly wash uniforms at home.
  • Reducing movement by use of electronic devices to send orders from the bars/dining rooms to the kitchens, where permitted, and cleaning those devices regularly.
  • Reducing job and location rotation, for example, assigning staff to specific service zones/areas.
  • Introducing more one-way flow routes through the pub through signage that clearly indicate the direction of flow.
  • Managing use of high traffic areas including, corridors and staircases to maintain social distancing.
  • Reviewing layouts and processes to allow staff to work further apart from each other.
  • Only where it is not possible to move working areas further apart, we have arranged for staff to work side-by-side or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face. Where and if necessary, we will use screens or cleanable panels to separate people from each other.
  • We will minimise interaction between kitchen staff and other staff, including when on breaks, allowing kitchen access to as few people as possible and using ‘one way’ traffic flows to minimise contact.
  • We will minimise access to walk-in pantries, fridges and freezers, for example, with only one person being able to access these areas at one point in time.
  • We have staggered break times to ensure social distancing is maintained.


  1. We have reviewed our incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect the social distancing principles as far as possible and have checked that we have enough appropriately trained staff to keep people safe. For example, having dedicated staff to encourage social distancing.


  1. Our cleaning measures are already stringent in kitchen areas, but we will consider the need for additional cleaning and disinfection measures, have bins for collection of used towels and staff overalls, ensure that staff wash hands before handling plates and cutlery, continue with high frequency of hand washing throughout the day and clean surfaces and objects between each customer use e.g. we will clean tables, card machines, chairs, trays, bars and tills before customer use, and wash hands after handling customer items and before moving onto another task.


  1. We will maintain good ventilation in the pub, by opening windows and doors frequently, where possible.


  1. We will provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.


Our Suppliers:


  1. We have ensured that schedules for essential services and contractor visits can take place when the pub is closed, to reduce interaction and overlap between people.


  1. We are revising procedures for deliveries to the pub, to minimise unnecessary contact, will use non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows for such use and are considering methods to reduce frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.


  1. Where possible and safe, we will have single staff load or unload vehicles, use the same pairs of people for loads where more than one is needed, will enable drivers to access our welfare facilities when required, consistent with other guidance, but encourage drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, will create one-way flow of traffic in stockrooms and adopt mitigation strategies where social distancing cannot be maintained due to the pub design.