Right everyone, I'm here once again to talk to you all about coronavirus!
So, 'cause I don't really want to be writing loads every single day and you probably don't want to be reading it anyway, I'll keep you up to date as briefly as I can (although to cover everything it's still gonna have to be very long):
Monday: Government advised the public NOT to attend pubs but didn't force pubs to close. What this means for us: This is quite serious news for our industry and trade will probably be hit very hard. We also anticipate being forced to close at some point. As this makes the immediate future so uncertain, we need to reduce costs and continue trading while we still can, so that we can protect the future of the business for everyone employed at The Old Dog.
Tuesday: In light of statements made by the government on Monday night, we stayed closed throughout Tuesday and had a meeting between the 5 of us yesterday morning. We then cleaned and tweaked things in the pub so that we can safely stay in operation and continue to offer some hours to staff while still possible.
NOW: We are currently still open and from today onwards, we have made some temporary changes as follows to protect you, your loved ones and our customers from the virus while you are at work during this time: EVERYTHING including beer and hot drinks is now in takeaway packaging and available to order over the phone for collection - this is to cater to those who are social distancing while also reducing staff/customer contact and reducing staffing costs and workload during hours of operation. As we could end up closed tomorrow, to avoid incurring any unnecessary costs, we have not bought any new packaging, so some products (like wine) will be served in oversized cups, just let the customer know the options we have and let them choose, explain that we are serving in takeout packaging to reduce contamination and workload during these weird times, but we can't serve in a glass at the moment, unfortunately. When you put an order for food through to the kitchen, go up the table plan on the till in numerical order (eg. if the last order was put on 20 - the next will be 21), there will be a checklist to help you with this. Ask the customer if they are sitting in or taking the order home and add a note to an item on the order, stating "TAKE OUT" if taking home, this way the kitchen will know whether to put the order on a tray or in a bag. Then, put the order through the till as normal and when the payment is taken, a receipt will print automatically. NO TABS! Highlight the table number on the receipt and give the receipt to the customer so that they know their number. When the food is ready, you will need to call out the number when taking the food out to the customer, unless you can remember who they are. Customers can now place phone orders, however, these orders (in theory) will be going straight through to the kitchen. The bar will only be responsible for receiving payment of the order and taking food over to the customer when they get here to collect. If a customer calls the bar phone to place an order for collection, take their name, telephone number and order on a piece of paper, then put the order through to the kitchen as normal, making a note that it is for takeout collection. They can either pay by card over the phone (we'll show you how) or pay when they arrive at the pub for collection.
We are reducing cash payments. Only one till will contain cash until we have a grip on demand. The signs in the pub say "card payments only" but we can make cash transactions if necessary for now. If we feel it is not necessary to have cash available, we will remove it, but for now, even just a reduction in cash handling is helpful. There is a queuing system in the pub to allow one bartender to work the bar alone if necessary and easily see who is next when it is busy. There is also spaced markings to identify the recommended distance between customers in the queue. We have reduced our opening times so that shift patterns can change to one long shift that incorporates opening up and closing down. We will now be closing between 8:30 and 9pm (Tuesday to Sunday) and stopping food at 8pm each night. Everything else will continue at the usual times. All this has been given a lot of consideration, however, there will be some gaps and issues that will crop up when put into practice so bear with it, let me know of any problems and we'll adjust as necessary.
Reduced Hours: As previously mentioned, at this time we will need to cut costs wherever possible to reduce the future risk in these uncertain times. These decisions have not been made flippantly. As such: All under 18's won't receive any shifts for the immediate future and any current shifts will be taken off rota. All over 18, non-bar trained staff members will also be taken off rota for any already scheduled shifts and won't be given new shifts for the time being. Over 18 bar trained staff MUST keep themselves informed regarding Covid-19 and if you have any medical conditions that make you vulnerable to the disease or have any concerns about coming in to work (if you have a vulnerable relative or would just not like to risk exposure) there is ABSOLUTELY NO PRESSURE to continue working during this time. I do however need to know either way. Any time out of work will be covered by either SSP, unused holiday leave or will be classed as unpaid leave.
So, If you are over 18 and bar trained and are willing to continue working for as long as we are allowed to remain open during this pandemic, please text "Covid-19: I understand the risk and would like to continue working" to me at 07565062220 (that's the number you all have already). If you are over 18 and bar trained and wish to be taken off rota for now due to the outbreak please text "Covid-19: I do not wish to continue working during this time" to me at 07565062220. Time off can be covered financially using a combination of Statutory Sick Pay and unused holiday days (which will reset on 1st April 2020). If you are in self-isolation and/or unable to come into work due to coronavirus because you have either contracted the virus or are considered a vulnerable person, you are entitled to up to 14 days statutory sick pay. Some information regarding SSP, sick leave and coronavirus is still unclear but we are continually looking into it. I will start to reschedule shifts now, distributing hours as evenly as possible, prioritising in the order below. Until I hear from you, I will leave you off rota until I know whether you would like to continue working at this time, so make sure you let me know either way, asap. 1st priority - Full-Time Staff (27 hours or more every week) 2nd priority - Part-Time or New Staff in Probation (at least one consistent weekly shift) 3rd priority - Casual Staff (University and QEGS students - even if you frequently work one shift per week) I'm trying to do this as fairly as possible, taking into account people's expectations and commitments, but if you need to discuss this system or have any questions at all, let me know.
Crucially, no-one is losing their jobs, we just need to cut back on hours so that we don't run that risk in the future as WHO KNOWS what this pandemic may bring and we'd all like to have a job to return to at the end of this thing. In the meantime, we are keeping track of government advice with regards to public health and financial assistance and will try to make the best decisions we can to look after everyone here at The Old Dog. No doubt, everything will be different in a few days time and I'll have to tell you a load of stuff all over again. For now, please keep clean and safe! Wash your hands 'til they're stumps, don't cough irresponsibly and don't forget to text me about continuing work (or not).
Lots of love, Nat x