I hope you are well.
Well, I did say “notwithstanding any further announcements from the government…”! You may have seen the Prime Minister’s announcements yesterday on further national restrictions due to COVID-19, including on bars and pubs and sports activities. Some of these mirror the local restrictions that came into force yesterday, but here are the details of the national restrictions:
- From Thursday 24 September, all pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England are to shut no later than 10:00pm BST each evening. (So for us, last orders will be at 9.30pm).
- We are restricted by law to table service only. This will include outside (while the weather holds)
- Table bookings of more than six are not allowed and groups can’t mingle.
- Businesses are legally required to take customers’ contact details so they can be traced if there is an outbreak.
- The club can be fined up to £10,000 if we take reservations of more than six, do not enforce social distancing, or do not take customers’ contact details.
- Staff in hospitality venues must now wear masks, as must customers when not seated at their table to eat or drink. The penalty for not wearing one, or breaking the ”rule of six” has doubled to £200 for a first offence.
So, for the avoidance of doubt, when you arrive at the club, inside you must wait to be seated, and you must wear a mask until you are sat down (so please carry a mask with you). Your order and payment will be taken at your table, and your drinks and/or food will be delivered to you. You will no longer be allowed to queue at the bar. You can use the toilets normally, but you must put your mask on as you leave your table, and please continue to observe social distancing and use the hand sanitiser provided.
Everyone must vacate the clubhouse by 10pm, with last orders taken at 9.30pm. We sincerely hope that the Premier League will change the kick-off times for any games that are likely to end after 10pm (eg Liverpool v Arsenal on Monday), but this is out of our control. So the TVs will be turned off by 9.55pm –please don’t shoot the messenger! A table booking system will be in place for major football matches to ensure we are able to manage our capacity.
Table service outside will depend on the weather, but once you have found a table, please register inside the clubhouse (with your mask on) and let the bar staff know you are seated outside. The same “Rule of 6” and no group mingling applies outside as well as inside. We will not serve outside in wet weather for safety reasons.
Also in the PM’s announcement is that adult indoor sports will now be subject to the “Rule of 6”, which for the Northern will most likely further delay any playing of team squash. This adds to last week’s announcement that we must also “avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators”. We are still working through what that means in practice – for example for parents bringing kids to hockey or football practice – and we also await further guidance from governing bodies.
These are all unwelcome restrictions, but which may now be with us for many months. Your continuing patience and understanding while we implement these new legal requirements is appreciated. Hopefully the infection rate across the country will respond positively to these new restrictions, and some sort of normality can be restored sooner rather than later.
For those members who have requested to join the direct debit scheme for their membership, thank you, we are collating all the requests and you will receive an application email in time for the first payment, which will be taken at the end of October.
Please see below for the link to this evening’s AGM, starting at 8pm.