Covid-19 (again) and the Prime Minister and us…

To all our much-loved customers from the team at the Geese and Fountain

Kate, Sophie and Nick spent much of this morning working out what our approach should be to the changing situation regarding Covid-19. Then the Prime Minister had a press conference this evening, and made life much more difficult for us, so the planning has to start all over again.

Up front we want to say how much we care about our customers.

We’re genuinely very, very proud of our little pub and what makes it special is the people who work here, and the customers who visit. Without you it is just a pile of bricks and a few cans of beer. With you, it’s the best pub in the world. We are determined to find a way to keep it like that. It’s not too emotional to say ‘we love you guys’ but it does sound a bit of cliché, so let’s pretend we’ve not said it, and move on to the serious stuff…

The situation is changing so fast, it is really difficult to work out what the best thing to do is at any point, but we are determined to do everything we can to both keep the Geese and Fountain going, and also ensure the lowest possible risk to all our customers and staff.

The current situation is that the Prime Minister has advised people not to socialise and not to visit pubs, clubs and theatres. However, he has not instructed us to close. This puts us in a difficult place, as without a specific instruction to close we will not be able to access any business insurance payments for loss of trade or similar.

We are a small pub, in a very small village. In as much as it’s possible to know, the risk represented by a visit to the Geese and Fountain is a lot lower than most pubs in towns and cities. We are also a resource for the village of Croxton Kerrial, and in the absence of a village shop, we are the only place in the village that you can buy milk, bread and so on (we even have toilet rolls). We therefore think that for the time being at least, the best thing we can do is try to keep going – we will keep the pub open, but take further steps to minimise the risks.

We will try our best to communicate with all of you as openly as we can. But please bear in mind that we have no idea what is going to happen next. The Prime Minister’s statement tonight has made a difficult situation a lot worse, and tomorrow the whole situation could change again.

Last weekend we issued a ‘ten point plan’ to all our staff. That remains in place.

In addition:

1. We will be putting up regular communication on our social media. Please ensure you are following the pub on facebook, twitter and instagram, if you use them. As things change we will keep putting out new updates.

2. We un-set several of our tables tonight, and will probably physically remove some into storage. The intention here is to space out customers so each family/group is sitting at least 1 metre away from anyone else. Please respect this effort when you visit the pub, and if a member of staff asks you to move tables, please be understanding.

3. Please WASH YOUR HANDS ON ARRIVAL at the Geese and Fountain. Remember, it’s not just for you – it’s to help safeguard everyone else.

4. We are going to close out online bookings for our B&B rooms. Online booking systems don’t always pass contact details for customers on to us, and in the circumstances we must be able to get in touch with customers in advance of their arrival. We will continue to take BOOKINGS FOR ROOMS OVER THE TELEPHONE ONLY.

5. We will be contacting people who have booked for Mother’s Day lunch this Sunday over the next couple of days, once we have decided the appropriate level to cap bookings at. We will not be taking any more bookings for Mother’s Day at this point. We might ask you to come at a slightly different time as we try to space out bookings more throughout the day and around the pub, keeping everyone as safe as possible. For those who are not able to come this Sunday, we are already planning a “Mother’s Day Part Two” for later in the summer, once things are back to normal.

6. We encourage all our customers to continue to use the Geese and Fountain for take-away, even if you don’t feel able to enjoy a visit to the pub. And we could potentially offer delivery to Croxton and nearby villages – please ask us if this is something that you would find helpful. Remember that we sell several basic household essentials as well as hot and cold food, beers, wines, ciders and soft drinks, chocolate bars and even toilet rolls. Apparently some supermarkets had run out of potatoes this morning, so one customer left here with two pints of beer and a bag of spuds. This is how we survive.

It’s such a shame that the situation has deteriorated today, after what was a wonderful weekend in so many respects. Casino Night in particular was great. Let’s try to keep the positive stuff in our minds over the next few weeks – we have a very special pub, and we are part of a very special Croxton Kerrial community. We can pull together and pull through this situation, and come out of it stronger. In the meantime, wash your hands, and keep the faith!

Love and best wishes to all our customers. Please keep well.

Nick, Kate, Sophie, Greg and all the team at the G&F

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