July Newsletter

Hello from Otley Pub Club and a warm welcome to all our new members.

Welcome to another, and hopefully final, lockdown newsletter as we all still try to come to terms with this massive change to our lives. These are very worrying times and we send our thoughts and best wishes to all our members and also to anyone who has been affected by this awful disease, directly or through financial loss.  

The obvious topic for this month’s newsletter is….. which pubs are opening and when? As much detail as we know is attached below. Also, we have summarised the Government guidelines for pub re-openings below.

As the lockdown eases and businesses “attempt” to get back to normality, I think it’s fair to assume that some things will never return to how they were. Some changes will be for the better, while some things will be frustrating to say the least. I think what we all agree on is that things will be difficult, not least for those that have lost loved ones, but also for those businesses that try to re-establish themselves within the current constraints. I’m sure we also agree that during these times we should all operate with a high degree of tolerance and understanding. A great post on social media recently pleaded with people to talk and try to understand the plight of businesses before posting photos, videos, comments that might undermine efforts by said business to get back on their feet. Yes, there will be mistakes and misunderstandings, but let’s all try to pull together to make things work for the communal good. Remember, the prime concern of all business owners is the health and safety of their employees and customers.

What I would stress is please be mindful of the restrictions the pubs are under from Government restrictions (see article below) and secondly, the restrictions the pubs are putting on themselves. I’m sure all pubs would love crowded tap rooms, lounges and gardens, but we all have to accept that for quite some time, that simply will not happen.

So, please, where possible, visit the pub’s social media sites and familiarise yourself which what operating conditions are in place. I’m sure there will be plenty of variations in operating conditions. Please take notice of signage in the pubs and if in any doubt, please ask a member of staff – I’m sure they would be more than happy to explain.

And remember, as ever, please drink responsibly. Keep your distance and hand wash/sanitise regularly.

OK – no more preaching. Onto the pub news. This is the latest opening status of our lovely pubs as far as we know, and accurate as possible at the time of posting. It’s changeable, so again, please keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc for more news. No opening hours unfortunately, but here goes:

Opening on the Saturday 4th July:

The Fleece, The Red Lion, The Roebuck, The Yew Tree, The Rookery, The Cross Pipes, The Royalty, The Bowling Green (Wetherspoons), The Black Bull, The Junction, Groove Pad

Phew! Good luck to all. Lots to choose from. If it gets busy, why not spread the love (ok, business) around to the other places?

Week commencing 6th July – The Tavern – to be confirmed

9th July – North Bar Social, The White Swan

4th July – The Black Horse

4/5th August – Tap House (to be confirmed, due to renovation)

Dates yet to be confirmed for: The Old Cock, The Manor, The Bay Horse

Closed until further notice of course are:

Whitakers – new tenants in place, we think, just waiting on renovations to complete

Rose & Crown – awaiting new tenants

The Horse & Farrier – closed due to operators Market Town Taverns decision.

The Chair of Otley Pubwatch has been in touch with Leeds City Council about their specific guidance to pubs, and has then talked with the pubs about following that guidance. His overall message to publicans is to stay in line with the guidance and that Otley Pubwatch is there to help and advise them about dealing with customers, taking personal details and phone numbers etc, and monitoring if possible – about which he believes there are more guidelines to be announced

So, that’s it. Good luck to all. Let’s hope for a calm, peaceful and profitable re-opening. Drink responsibly, be tolerant, be respectful and enjoy Otley’s fantastic pubs!

See below for Government guidelines on pub re-openings.

Stay safe – stay healthy – see you round town!

The Otley Pub Club Committee

GUIDANCE FOR PUBS THAT ARE RE-OPENING

All the rules for pubs that are re-opening are included in a Government guidance publication – “Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services” Updated 23 June 2020. [The guidance is available in full here]

All landlords will have had to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment based on this guidance before they could re-open. So any arrangements they’ve put in place associated with the activities below are purely to manage and reduce the risk of customers and staff catching or spreading the virus. So we’d just ask everyone to appreciate that, and to be kind to staff when you’re in the pub – even if they’re asking you to do something you might not want to!

Here are just some of the changes you might be faced with when you visit a pub again after Saturday the 4th of July. They might not all be in every pub, and in some places there might be more, but be prepared for things to be very different from what you’ve been used to!

ARRIVAL

You’ll probably find that any pub you visit will have put a maximum limit on the number of people allowed in at any one time. You might even be asked to queue outside until someone leaves, or it’s safe for you to enter – just like when you go to a supermarket.

You might find you’re encouraged to use hand sanitiser, as you are in shops, and you’ll certainly be expected to maintain a distance of 2 metres from people not from your household [or at the very least as much over 1 metre as is possible in the pub].

If you’re looking forward to taking your children back to the pub, please remember that social distancing guidelines apply to them too. It might be that some pubs even introduce a temporary ban on children because of that, but if they do, please accept it and don’t cause a fuss – it’s to keep the children safe, and to reduce the risk of them catching the virus. Likewise, if you’re outside the pub and the weather turns bad, you might not be allowed back inside immediately because of the number of people already in there. The landlord will be responsible for everyone’s safety and will have to follow the Government’s guidance – it isn’t their fault!

PERSONAL INFORMATION

The re-opening of pubs following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. Pubs are being asked to assist this service by keeping a temporary record of their customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for them – and to assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. So you might also find you are asked for your name and address, and/or phone number and/or email address before you can be served. Again, please do whatever is asked of you as it might be different in each pub [and NOT with made up names or numbers!] so that the infection rate can continue to be controlled.

DRINKS

All most of us really want to do is go out and have a drink and meet old friends again, but this is where it starts to get complicated! First, you definitely CAN’T stand or sit at the bar. In some places you might have to take a seat at a table first, and wait for someone to come and serve you. Then the Government advice says “Indoor gatherings should only be occurring in groups of up to two households (including support bubbles) while outdoor gatherings should only be occurring in groups of up to two households or support bubbles [with no limit on numbers!], or a group of at most six people from any number of households.”

If that’s difficult for you to get a grip of and understand, how on earth is the landlord expected to know if you’re following the rules? Just be sensible, and don’t try to pretend that half a dozen couples drinking together are all from the same household, eh?

TOILETS

Of course we all know that after a couple of drinks there will be a need for a ‘comfort break’, and this will cause further problems in pubs. It might be that you have to join a dreaded queue again, and only be allowed in one at a time, but again that will depend on the arrangements in individual pubs. But please, please, PLEASE don’t be tempted to do what we’ve all seen happening on TV, and go behind the bushes in the park or in an alleyway on the way home!

FOOD

In pubs that serve food, you might be asked to book a table in advance. That would help in gathering the personal information the Test and Trace system needs, as well as helping the pub manage the number of people inside and their distance apart from each other. Once you’re seated, you might be asked to stay at the table and place your drinks orders from there as well. Most places are likely to prefer contactless payment, with ordinary card payment the next best and then cash, so try to make sure you can pay in whatever way the pub wants before you order!

ATMOSPHERE

Pubs are being encouraged by the guidance to keep doors open where possible, to avoid everyone having to touch them. They’re also advised to keep windows open, as a fresh airflow helps to keep the atmosphere clean and healthy. So if it does get a bit chilly, please try to accept that.

Live music is not allowed and pubs are being asked to make sure that people don’t need to unduly raise their voices to speak to each other. So piped music, sports broadcasts and the like will be low volume, and you’ll be encouraged not to shout – even when Leeds score! {No, seriously, shouting propels aerosol droplets further, and risks the spread of the virus. None of these restrictions are arbitrary.]

STAY CALM AND KILL COVID!

I know it’s going to be difficult to turn up as a regular at your local and be told you can’t just walk in and have a pint at the bar, but unfortunately that’s the world we’re having to live in now! You can’t stand and chat to the bar staff, it might be difficult to manage your ‘comfort breaks’ as well, or even be impossible to sit in your usual seat. But we’ve waited a long time for this, and if we don’t follow the rules, and we aren’t sensible, it might all be locked down and taken away from us again.

However, we all know that common sense often starts to drift away in the presence of alcohol, so we’re all going to have to try that bit harder over the next couple of weeks to stick to whatever rules our local landlord asks us to. If the Covid-19 infection rate keeps on decreasing, the restrictions will be eased even further, and hopefully by the time the weather starts getting chilly we’ll all be able to get together round a blazing fire and laugh about what we had to go through during the summer!

Keep sensible, keep healthy, and keep visiting Otley’s pubs. They need you now more than ever!

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