Covid-19 Policy & Procedures

Last Update: 10th April 2021

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 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 so please if you are vulnerable do NOT visit. We are making every effort 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 for at least 10 days 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 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 advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone. You need to minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of 2 metres between individuals.” – Covid Food Business

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 tested positive and not completed the isolation period
  • 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 social 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 apply for a test through the NHS if they show symptoms and we would ask that customers do the same whilst following appropriate isolation procedures.

At this point, we do not believe that at door radar thermometers are an appropriate method of testing customers for Covid-19 both because it cannot catch certain types of asymptomatic carriers and because it may discriminate against certain other non-infectious conditions.

We encourage staff [and customers] to get the Rapid Antibody (Lateral Flow) Tests twice a week if they are able to in order to identify if any are asymptomatic carriers.

  • 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.

  • Track-and-Trace

Under current UK legislation it is the responsibility of premises operators to gather data in order to facilitate tracing of potentially infected individuals. Legislation requires that we display an appropriate QR code and maintain a manual option and that we check that people are participating in the process and refuse entry to people who don’t give us their details.

As a venue we believe that our customers should be given as much information as possible about whether they may need to isolate or monitor symptoms as a result of a visit to us. We are required to ask you to participate in this process.

With that in mind we are asking as many people as possible to pre-book a table and give us details to contact them on if we are informed someone who was on the premises at the same has tested positive. We will also ask walk-ins to sign a register that will allow us to do the same for them or to check-in using the Government App.

Information given for this purpose will be held by us in accordance with data protection guidance and destroyed after 21 days on the basis that the window of potential infection from the visit will have passed. We will not use this information for marketing purposes unless you give us express permission to do so. We will never pass on your information to companies or private individuals and where possible we will contact you directly and give you information about how you can access the NHS systems. We may pass your information onto relevant authorities if they make a request under appropriate legal procedures according to data protection guidelines.

If you refuse to give information for this purpose we are required by law to refuse entry.

  • Deep Clean

If we are informed that there has been someone with a confirmed case of Covid-19 on the premises we will immediately close for 48hrs to perform an intense sterilisation procedure. Depending on circumstance we made need to shut for longer to facilitate staff isolation or look to further operational processes. As per regulations we will notify customers and authorities where we have confirmed cases/a suspected outbreak.

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) no matter how mild or that you have been in contact with someone who is likely to be infectious!

  • Secondly, the current regulations require people to wear masks indoors while not seated unless they are exempt. This includes Staff.
    This means that you must put your mask on to go to the toilet or [when we are permitted indoor seating] if you get up to go outside to smoke as well as when you enter and exit.

If you are exempt please wear a lanyard if possible – please also be extra considerate of social distancing
We are happy to make accommodations if the use of PPE by staff affects you.

Examples of this include the fact that all staff only use latex-free gloves and that 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 hence we make notepads available to facilitate the ordering process.

  • 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 rules; this means not attempting to approach people outside of your established “household/bubble” (currently a max of 6 people per table) and understanding that some people require more space than others.

To make this easier the floor around the inside of the pub is marked with tape.  Inside red marked areas people can move but should not wait.  Inside blue marked areas are spaces for established groups to sit and enjoy each other’s company which you should not enter unless you are part of that group.  Whilst table-service regulations are in place we ask that you also do not linger unreasonably to chat whilst stood up especially indoors when that is permitted. Please follow flow signs with regard to entry and exit.

  • Alcohol Consumption loosens inhibitions and this may make people feel more like they can ignore social distancing and more likely to forget hygiene protocols so we ask staff and customers to be extra vigilant of behaviour and tolerances.

To help mitigate this effect, extra signage is placed around the pub and staff will ask people to leave if they believe that there is a danger to themselves or others.

  • We are minimising the use of soft furnishings at the moment for hygiene reasons so if you feel you may need extra support/comfort  or warm layers please bring your own
    For the foreseeable we also remind people that books and games are not sanitised but they are welcome to bring their own; We will clean darts but also cannot guarantee that they are fully sanitized.

Table Service

As per current regulations we are currently only offering service at the table. A member of staff will take your order once you are seated, bring your drinks to you and remove empties.
There are two QR codes on the table – 1 opens a copy of the beer menu and the other sends a message to the bar asking for service. We will aim to get to you as quickly as possible and staff are more than happy to talk to you about what options there are.

  • Paying: We would prefer you to pay by contactless at the table if possible and card is preferable to cash but not mandatory. Please note that we are not able to sterilise cash so it is at your own risk.
    We will sanitise the card reader after any PIN entry.


Our toilets are not designed for social distancing but we are asking customers to preserve as much as reasonable by following a one-in/one-out policy and not congregating outside of the entry to the toilets. We are also asking people to put extra effort into sanitising before and after they use the toilet.

We have implemented new routine cleaning processes but every effort individuals make helps make it safer for everyone. If you are in any doubt about your safety please use the items provided in the facilities to sanitise seats and flushes as well as sanitising your hands before and after entry.

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 will be wedged open in order to reduce the amount of surfaces that need to be touched by the general public and we will be asking people to follow signs with regard to movement flow systems.


In order to maintain social distancing we ask that there be no smoking in the side-corridor. Please only smoke or vape where there is enough space for people to pass you safely.


 At the moment we are not in a position to offer events the way that we have done in the past but we are keen to engage with our community, including continuing to host pop-ups and supporting local artists.

Every event will require an individual assessment in order to keep people as safe as possible which we will aim to publish well in advance.

However, you should 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”

We anticipate that artist costs may be higher due to transport and accommodation requirements and that sterilisation of house equipment or individual equipment load-ins without house help may also require more time and ask for understanding as this changes proceedings.

Likewise pop-ups will probably need extra space to ensure adequate queuing is possible