COVID Mitigation Plans at The Boat

July 13, 2020

We’re very excited and pleased to announce that, all being well, we shall be re-opening on Wednesday 5th August at 11.00. For staff and customer safety we are planning on quite a few physical and operational changes which can be seen in detail below;

In General

Our aim is to provide a safe environment for our staff and customers that remains comfortable, attractive and conducive to spending time with friends and family. Mostly this focuses on strong sanitising routines, asking people to take personal responsibility and the use of common sense to avoid spreading or catching this horrid virus.

We have carried out a whole range of risk assessments and all of our staff have been through a thorough period of re-training on how we need to operate during this new, hopefully temporary, norm. We ask that you respect their requests, our changes to service, and the extra rules, regs and bureaucracy that we have, for all the right reasons, been forced to implement.

Given the linear shape of our building, with a warren of rooms and dead ends, it isn’t practicable to have a one-way system or full social distancing, so the following sets out what we are doing to minimise the chance of spreading COVID and reduce the time people spend close up and face to face.

Our staff won’t be coming to work at the pub if under-the-weather and we ask that any customers feeling poorly or showing any signs of having COVID do the same and save their visit for another occasion. Likewise, if you fall into a high-risk category, just to be extra safe, we suggest that for your own good that you stay away until social distancing is no longer deemed necessary.

Essential principles (Inside and Out)

Allocated tables only. Everyone will need to be allocated a table to sit at whether you are eating or just drinking. Naturally, you won’t be chained to the table but we do ask that when inside you minimise moving around and in particular don’t socialise standing up. We know this will be hard and is not really in the spirit of a good country pub but it’s important right now.

Write down your own orders. We would like someone at each table to agree to be a “Table Captain”. To minimise contact time with our staff, this person will then write down any orders on the single-use menus that we are providing and hand them to the waiter(ess) who will then process them away from you.

Track and Trace Information. We would like the same or another “Table Captain” to write down the names and contact numbers of their party on a form that we will provide. This will then be put in a daily file and kept for 21 days for “Track and Trace” purposes. We assure you that this information will be kept secure and destroyed as soon as the 21 days have passed.

One person only at the bar to order. To minimise congestion but maintain a pub atmosphere, we will be permitting just one member of each party to go to the bar to order any drinks but we ask that you then move promptly back to your table once served. There will be screened order points.

Children and Pushchairs. When inside, to maximise space and for everyone’s safety, we do require all children to remain seated with their parents. For the same reason please leave pushchairs outside.

Pinch points. When passing another person at the odd pinch point, please resist the normal urge to look at them and instead, half turn your back and look the other way as you pass.

Toilets. Please sanitise your hands at the station on the way in and on the way out of the access corridor. This should be done on top of your normal hand washing in the toilets as an extra measure to keep door handles and push plates as clean as possible in between the new regular sanitising routines.

Payments. Although cards are preferred, cash payments will be permitted and there will be sanitisation gel available when paying.

Table Management and Bookings

Party size rules - Inside. At the moment only 1 household or extended household (which can be up to 4 households permanently and in effect legally bound as though they were one) are permitted to socialise together around one table, which for us is 8 downstairs and 16 in the private dining room.

Party size rules - Outside. As above, although any number of households can meet ( up to 30 people) so long as social distancing is maintained. For info, although we don’t take reservations outside, our largest tables here can seat 8.

Reservations Inside. For inside tables, we encourage you to book online in advance, as this is the best way to make sure that you have a table and reduce the chance of people gathering in the pub waiting for tables to come free. That said we shall still keep some pub spirit alive by keeping a few tables free for those that do want to turn up spontaneously just for a drink or a bite to eat.

No Reservations Outside. We will not be taking any reservations for outside tables but will be actively managing them so you won’t be able to just grab any table on arrival but will need to wait to be allocated one.

Please be on time. We will be spacing out our reservations a little more to allow more time for tables to be sanitised between different parties. Please try to be on time, not too early and not too late, so that we keep things running smoothly and avoid build-ups, backlogs and queues.

On Arrival

Sanitise your hands. Please would everyone use one of the sanitising stations before entering the pub or sitting down, be it inside or out.

Check-in. Whether you have booked or not please would just one of your party check-in at the new “Old Desk” when you arrive, so that we can tell you where you are sitting or allocate you a table. If others are ahead of you please be mindful of social distancing. On nice days this will be outside, otherwise, it will be in the new main bar area.


What have we actually done?


  • Have been consulted, trained and signed up to our new anti-COVID measures and will be having their temperatures checked on arrival.
  • They will not be wearing gloves or face masks, but for their own safety may optionally wear a visor that we will provide for them.

Cleaning and Hygiene

  • Although this has always been important to us, we have adjusted and enhanced all of our cleaning routines to ensure greater sanitisation more often.
  • Sanitiser stations are positioned at the 3 main customer doorways plus on the way to the loos. Sanitising fluid will be by all till points and available when paying. 
  • Hourly sanitisation (sterile wipe-downs) will take place for all of the following.
    • Toilets door handles, locks, taps etc
    • Pub door handles and push plates
    • Pub phones, tills, PDQ’s and laptops
    • Kitchen Pass
  • Disinfectant will be left in every toilet cubicle to be used, should you wish, for extra cleaning.

Physical changes 

  • When the weather permits, we will open the French windows on either side of the new main doorway and make an “In” and an “Out”. We will also keep our considerable number of doors and windows open as much as is comfortable to keep air circulation high.
  • Table positions have been adjusted and chairs removed so that there is a good-sized gap (usually 2m but sometimes a little less), between customers of one party directly facing customers of another party when seated and in such a way that each party can access their tables comfortably without making someone at another table feel their space is being invaded.
  • We have removed and altered the furniture layout in the main bar to increase the amount of circulation and arrival space and to create a place for drinkers away from the bar.
  • Intermittent glass screens are fixed around the bar – to protect staff and allow customers to still get drinks from the bar.
  • There will be no high stools at the main bar.
  • Clear but modest floor markings show where you can stand to order drinks from the bar.
  • Some of our little touches, which can be touched by many, will be missing. This includes newspapers, reading glasses and the like. We know this is a great shame but we hope you understand why.

Operational changes 

  • Tables will only be laid up minimally for booked customers. Un-booked tables will not be laid up. Additional cutlery will be provided in a basket/tray with an option for you to lay-up yourself or us to do it for you.
  • Drinks will be taken to your table on trays with an option for you to pass them around, although we will still be happy to do this for you. We won’t be offering to pour wine for you.
  • Menus will only be used once and wine lists will be sanitised between customers.
  • Condiments will be dispensed to order and served in ramekins.
  • The salt, pepper and tabasco will be wiped down with alcohol wipes when servicing tables between customers.
  • Tables will be fully cleared and sanitised between customers.
  • We have introduced a shortened slightly simplified menu so as to reduce the number of people in the kitchen at any one time. This is to minimise cross over points and ensure that mostly our team are working side by side with minimum face to face time. Naturally, we shall still ensure our dishes are interesting and reflect our bias towards spice, seafood and game all alongside the usual pub classics.