Covid-19 Policy & Procedures

Last Update: September 2023

As ever, this pub operates according to three principles – namely, that it should be a safe and inclusive place to drink and to work; that it should be adaptable and innovative in what it offers and that it should be an asset to its community. These principles operate under the framework of the objectives set-out in the Licensing Act 2003:

  1. the prevention of crime and disorder,
  2. public safety,
  3. prevention of public nuisance, and
  4. the protection of children from harm

and are based on the idea of creating an environment where staff and customers are proud of their pub and want to keep coming back.

As we negotiate the continuing effects of the Covid-19 Global pandemic it is appropriate to consider how to best meet these aims with particular attention to how we can keep staff and customers as safe as possible whilst also being a social and community venue.

Much as we would like to there is no way we can operate risk-free. We are making an effort where we can but if you come to us you are accepting there will be a risk and for many people that could be life-threatening, so if you need to, please stay safe and come back when you can. Similarly, if you are showing any potential symptoms of coronavirus please self-isolate and come back when you are feeling better.

We recommend that you read the rest of this document which outlines the key steps that we have put in place to improve the situation and make an informed decision about the level of risk you can personally take.

Basis for Actions:

The policy has been written in due consideration of numerous government and industry publications and is therefore based on the following:

The World Health Organisation states:

  • Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, for example at a conversational distance. The virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. Another person can then contract the virus when infectious particles that pass through the air are inhaled at short range (this is often called short-range aerosol or short-range airborne transmission) or if infectious particles come into direct contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth (droplet transmission).
  • The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols can remain suspended in the air or travel farther than conversational distance (this is often called long-range aerosol or long-range airborne transmission).
  • People may also become infected when touching their eyes, nose or mouth after touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated by the virus. 
  • The risk of infection [from new coronaviruses (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV)]  depends on many factors, including:
    • the type of surfaces contaminated
    • the amount of virus shed from the individual
    • the time the individual spent in the setting
    • the time since the individual was last in the setting

The infection risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) following contamination of the environment decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.” –  Covid19 Decontamination

“Like other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus with a fragile outer lipid envelope that makes it more susceptible to disinfectants compared to non-enveloped viruses such as rotavirus, norovirus and poliovirus” – WHO Disinfection

“Surfaces should always be cleaned with soap and water or a detergent to remove organic matter first, followed by disinfection. In non-health care settings, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) may be used at a recommended concentration of 0.1% (1000 ppm). 5 Alternatively, alcohol with 70%-90% concentration may be used for surface disinfection.”  – WHO Disinfection

“The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low. The risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also very low.” – Covid Food Businesses

The current best recommended means of reducing transmission are to stay a minimum of 1m from others, to wear a well-fitting mask with at least 3 layers and to maintain a regime of cleaning hands and surface.

Accountability: The directors assume responsibility for drawing up procedures and for reviewing them regularly. Managers assume responsibility for training and enforcement of procedures and all customers assume responsibility for their own behaviour.

As General Manager, Cara Sheldrake, assumes responsibility for checking training and enforcement takes place, for ensuring queries and complaints are handled and for making sure reviews are regular and appropriate.

However, all customers take responsibility for their decision to come to the venue with due consideration of risk and all staff take responsibility for their decisions (without prejudice) about return to work, use of PPE and capabilities.

Staff and customers are encouraged to offer feedback via email, web form or handwritten/in person in order to improve the review processes.

Unacceptable Behaviour

Deliberate and wilful spreading of infectious or potentially infectious substances may be deemed assault and is definitely covered under our Unacceptable Behaviour policy. Staff and management will act appropriately to remove and/or bar and/or report to the police individuals who engage in this kind of activity

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Coming into the pub if you have recently tested positive especially if symptomatic
  • Spitting
  • Deliberately coughing into someone’s face
  • Inappropriate touch
  • And similar at the discretion of a manager

We will also take failure to adhere to staff requests for distancing and failure to follow safety instructions as potentially serious threats to the safety of both staff and customers and therefore Unacceptable Behaviour.

Tests, Vaccines and Responses

  • Testing

We expect our staff to take an appropriate Rapid Antibody (Lateral Flow) test if they show symptoms and encourage them to also take tests if they may have been exposed and we would ask that customers do the same.

Due to the ongoing costs of regular testing it is no longer a mandatory procedure for staff but we do encourage periodic testing on order to detect asymptomatic carriers, especially where exposure is likely to have occurred.
Staff and customers who are eligible for free lateral flow tests via the NHS are encouraged to apply for and use these.

  • Vaccinations

The Castle Tap believes that everyone who can have the vaccine should do so in order to help protect those who cannot. However, we also believe that the circumstances around who has or has not already had or been offered the vaccines and reasons for not having had them can be extremely personal and therefore we believe asking about someone’s vaccination status is discriminatory and should not be part of our policy for entry unless it is mandated by the government.
We do still urge people to get vaccinated and to help their friends and neighbours do similar where appropriate.

  • Deep Clean

If we are informed that there has been someone with a confirmed case of Covid-19 on the premises we will immediately perform an intense sterilisation procedure. Depending on circumstance we made need to shut to facilitate staff isolation or look to further operational processes.

Being in the Pub

  • First and foremost please do NOT come to the pub if you think you might be infectious.

This means either that you are displaying symptoms (cough, temperature over 37.3C, loss of smell/taste and new variant symptoms like sneezing & upset stomach) no matter how mild or that you have been in contact with someone who is likely to be infectious!

  • Secondly, if you are vulnerable and would like help from staff making your visit safer we will do our best to accommodate you but we acknowledge that this will be more difficult during busier sessions

Examples of this could include booking outside seating, requesting table service with masked servers or help asking others to keep their distance. We acknowledge the difficulties that people wearing masks make for someone who relies on lip-reading especially with the added difficulties of hearing at a distance and we can make notepads available to facilitate the ordering process.
If you are eligible please feel free to wear a lanyard.

  • Booking is encouraged but not mandatory
  • Please wash your hands and/or use sanitiser provided when you enter and exit the building.
  • While in the pub we ask that you respect social distance by understanding that some people require more space than others. Alcohol Consumption loosens inhibitions and more forgetful of personal space and hygiene protocols so we ask staff and customers to be extra vigilant of behaviour and tolerances.

Doors & Ventilation

It might be colder than usual but current scientific advice suggests that moving air helps reduce the covid virus transmission to that end please expect that many doors and windows will be open to encourage airflow.

Please also be aware that doors may be wedged open in order to reduce the amount of surfaces that need to be touched by the general public.


Please only smoke or vape where there is enough space for people to pass you safely.


 Every event will require an individual assessment in order to keep people as safe as possible which we will aim to create well in advance – Please ask about details for any event you are interested in

However, you could expect some of the following as possible procedures:

  • Pre-booking/Ticketed events (whilst this is something we try to avoid it may be necessary in order to control numbers)
  • A period of closure before the event starts to allow freedom of movement for set-up
  • Requiring all acts to bring their own vocal mics; encouraging musicians to either bring their own equipment and/or for only 1 person to touch the sound deck etc.
  • Limiting merchandise sales and signings
  • Making some events “Virtual”
  • Extra space to ensure adequate queuing is possible