Update 14th December 2020
Good Evening Members and Friends,
I hope this email finds you and your families safe and well.
Following this afternoon's announcement that London and the majority part of Essex will move into Tier 3 from 00.01 on Wednesday, I thought it would be prudent to touch base with you all to update you on our position. It is a fact that the rate of Covid-19 is increasing drastically in our local area, a worrying fact for us all, and indeed, we are hearing of more and more people being affected by Covid.
I must firstly apologise for the lack of communication since the national lockdown commenced in November. My laptop unfortunately has "given up the ghost", and it seems to be impossible to send a group email to such a large number of recipients from a phone, and indeed update the Clubs website. I have managed to borrow a laptop for a couple of days in order to update you all.
When we closed our doors for the second time this year, on Wednesday 4th November, we thought we were closing for a 4 week circuit-breaker, and for me personally, it never crossed my mind that nearly six weeks later, we remain closed, and indeed, will be closed for the foreseeable future.
When the announcement was made at the end of the national lockdown that Essex would be placed into Tier 2, meaning alcohol could only be served alongside a main meal, we were devastated that our Club would not be able to reopen. Along with the Officers, I spent many hours and days trawling through lots of guidance to see if there were any way we could reopen. "Scotch Egg gate" gave us all a headache, believe you me!
As a business, we have done everything we have been asked to do this year to make our Club covid safe and compliant, protecting our Members and our Staff. In the four month period that we were able to operate, between 4th July and 4th November, we adapted our offering, making sure we were always up to speed with the ever changing rules and guidance, and above all trying our best to keep everybody safe in our Club. Members expect no less.
Myself and the Officers met last week to discuss the short term future of the Club, and were exploring any available options to us, looking at our neighbouring businesses to see how they operated within the Tier 2 restrictions. As we do not hold a food licence, there was no easy solution. We decided that the best course of action would be to remain closed for the time being, and await the tier review scheduled to take place this Wednesday, in the hope that the virus had been suppressed enough to lower Essex to tier 1. We also started to look at options to be able to open our Club within the Tier 2 guidelines. Last week, we had no idea that the rate of the virus would all of a sudden grow exponentially, throwing us into Tier 3, ahead of the scheduled review.
Now, as we find ourselves in Tier 3, hospitality businesses can only operate on a takeaway basis. This for us is neither feasible or practical, so for that reason, for what I believe is the first time in our 114 year history, we will sadly be closed for the Christmas period. This is a devastating blow to us, during what should be our happiest and busiest time of the year, facilitating the meeting of families and friends for a special festive drink. There will be no Christmas raffle, no Christmas bingo, no Christmas party for children and no Christmas Day drinks. I can hand on heart say, Christmas Day is one of the most pleasurable days to work at Pelly House. The atmosphere is magical, and although this year would have been somewhat different, we were geared up for a lovely couple of hours.
A couple of people have asked about the five day Christmas reprieve, but unfortunately this makes no difference to us. Government guidelines state that this reprieve is only to facilitate the mixing of Christmas bubbles within the home, and has no bearing on the current tier rules for hospitality venues. Therefore, we will not be able to open over Christmas.
The financial implications of Covid-19 for us are devastating. We have worked tirelessly over the last few years to build our business to become one of the leading, most successful Clubs in the local area, with a full Membership book, and an ever-growing waiting list. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved. I have to strongly emphasise that your Club needs you now more than ever, to support it and keep it going for another 114 years and more! When we are able to reopen, the support of our Membership is crucial, for without it, the future may be very bleak.
From a personal point of view, the last six weeks have been very strange to say the least. It seems that overnight, I went from being the families' "breadwinner", working full time to provide for my family, to a stay at home Dad of two! This lockdown has been very different to the last, with my partner Katies' maternity leave coming to an end as the first national lockdown was lifted, and returning to work, and Sonny still going off to school, I've had many an hour with some one-on-one time with Max, who is now approaching 14 months old. In the last fortnight, not only has he taken his first steps and began to walk independently, he is FINALLY (dare I say it) sleeping through the night! It has been a very strange, and indeed stressful time, with Katie changing jobs to become a Home Care Worker just as the second lockdown was announced, and myself relying on furlough, ontop of playing Santa to two small children, the finer things in life have been put on hold! From all the negativity surrounding 2020, we must reflect and draw positives. We have a newfound appreciation for the simplistic things, spending quality time as a small family, exploring the local area and watching our boys grow and flourish. I know that once this awful pandemic is finally over, we will emerge as stronger, more resilient characters from it.
Just today, we were lucky enough to visit Santa's grotto at the local soft play area, before they close their doors again, and in the spirit of Christmas, I've attached a photo to this email, of my boys having a great time, oblivious of the global pandemic going on around them! I hope it brings a smile to your face!
Over the coming weeks, we will continue to stay up to date with the latest guidance, and how it may affect us going forward. We hope to be able to reopen our Club early in the New Year, subject to Government guidelines, and will endeavour to keep Members up to date as best as possible.
On behalf of the Officers, Committee, Staff and myself, I bid you and your families a very, very Merry Christmas, and a Happy, HEALTHY New Year! May your festive season, and 2021 be full of happiness, laughter and positivity!
I would love to hear back from you all to see how you are getting on! If you get time, please do drop me an email!
In the meantime, take care.
All the best,
Update 23rd September 2020
Good Morning Members and Friends,
Following yesterday’s announcement from the Prime Minister where new legislations were mandated, I write to you today with a further update about the implications this has on us as a Club.
From Thursday 24 September 2020 we will be reintroducing table service, this is in line with the new legislation, unfortunately, there will be no service available from the bar. Where possible, to assist with speeding up service, could you please pay by contactless where possible. We will of course still accept cash. Thank you!
When entering the Club a face covering must be worn until you are sat down at your table. If you are moving around in the Club, to play the machines or go for a comfort break or outside for a cigarette you must wear your face covering. Staff will be wearing a face covering at all times in line with new legislation.
Hospitality businesses have now been imposed with a curfew of 22:00. This curfew refers to the premises closing time and not “last orders”. This will mean that last orders will be called at 21:30 on Fridays and Saturdays to ensure that the premises is cleared and locked up by 22:00. All other opening and closing times remain unchanged. We will continue to remain open for live football, where these matches fall later than closing time, though we are not permitted to stay later than 22:00.
We will still allow Members to sign in one guest, though it should be noted that if the Main Bar is busy Members with guests will be asked to use the Pelly Bar. Members must accompany their guest at all times.
We will not allow more than six people around a table, this is now law and will be enforced by the staff at all times.
Covid-19 is a very real threat and it is of paramount importance that we keep our Club safe for all Members and our staff. Our staff have a duty to help enforce these measures, so please pay them the respect they deserve if they have to politely remind you of the rules.
Thank you in advance for your kind co-operation.
Update 21st September 2020
Good Afternoon Members and friends,
I hope this email finds you and your families safe and well. We’ve loved seeing many of you return to the Club, and making the best of what’s on offer here, and we’re missing those of you that haven’t yet been able to return!
It’s been a while since I last made contact, so I thought I’d write to you all today with a little update from our end. Lots of questions are flying around about what the short-term future holds for us, so I thought it might help to clear some of these up, as best I can!
As you will no doubt be aware, Coronavirus is still having a heavy impact on us all, and there are still many restrictions as to what we can and can’t do as a business. Most recently, new laws came into effect which prevent any group of more than six people from meeting up. For us, this means that no more than six people can meet and gather around a table (or anywhere else for that matter). This applies both inside and out. All groups of six (or less) must be distanced appropriately from other groups, meaning larger groups cannot be formed by gathering around multiple tables etc. I must plead with Members to please take note of this, and respect the rules and respect the Staff who have a duty to enforce these rules. These rules are now not just guidance, nor are they our own devised rules, but a law across the nation. Please do not attempt to enter the Club as a large group, or to meet up in large groups, as we will not allow this. Should you ignore requests to move, or direct any abuse at any member of Staff, you will be asked to leave the premises immediately and brought before the Committee.
If you are lucky enough to have been abroad, but unlucky in that you are required to quarantine for 14 days, please do not attempt to visit the Club. Similarly, if you are told by test and trace to self-isolate, or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms, please do not attend the Club. This is vital to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep your fellow Members and Staff safe.
Other restrictions still apply, such as the limits on numbers we can permit to enter the Club at any one time to maintain appropriate social distancing, this being 40 in the Main Bar, 40 in the Pelly Bar and approximately 40 in the garden. There are 40 seats in the Main Bar, which represents our maximum capacity. Everyone in the Main Bar should have their own seat. It is not permitted to bring extra furniture in from the garden as this then increases our safe capacity. There are also restrictions on live music and entertainment, meaning that if it were to go ahead, the audience would need to remain seated, with no singing along, shouting or dancing permitted, and the audience would need to remain socially distanced from each other, in groups of six or less, two metres away from other groups and further away from the singer whom may unintentionally emit aerosol particles. This being said, the Club have taken the decision to keep live entertainment paused for the time being. This will be reviewed regularly, but until guidelines are massively eased, we do not see that we can accommodate live entertainment safely, whilst allowing Members to comfortably enjoy it. Low volume background music is permitted and the jukebox will be in use when appropriate.
With the football season back in full swing, we are seeing increased attendance at many football matches, which means we have reached our maximum capacity in the Main Bar on a number of occasions. If you are planning on attending to watch a game, I urge you to arrive early in order to guarantee yourself a place in the Main Bar. Once the Main Bar has 40 people inside, the Pelly Bar will be opened for Members and their Guests to use. Staff will be monitoring this and will direct Members to the Pelly Bar where necessary. If you arrive just before a match, please expect that you may need to use the Pelly Bar to watch it.
Members are reminded that we are indeed a Private Members Club and not a Public House. We are not open to the public, and at present, only one Guest is permitted to attend with each Member. The Member maintains full responsibility for their Guest, and must remain with them at all times. When the Member leaves, the Guest must also leave. Guests fees must be paid to the Bar Staff. Full details of the Guest must be recorded at the bar along with Members names that are in attendance. This is again a legal requirement for Test and Trace.
We are unsure at this moment what Christmas and New Year may look like for us as a Club, and with advice, guidelines and laws ever changing, it is difficult to make any solid plans. As soon as we are able to, we will advise Members on what to expect this year, though our early thoughts are that it will be very different to our usual celebrations.
At present, we are still unable to offer our function room for any private events, and to that end, anything which may have been booked or provisionally booked in the near future will not be going ahead. Again, this will be regularly reviewed, and as soon as we are able to, we will begin to accept bookings for private functions.
Due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic situation, the decision has been made by the Trustees to pause the 114th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which would have been held on Wednesday 28th October 2020.
I will be setting up a secure online area on our website, where Members can gain access to view copies of the 2019 AGM minutes, as well as the financial statements for 2019/20 and the Chairman’s Report for the year. These documents will be published on 28th October 2020. Please note, these documents are private and confidential, and only permitted to be viewed by Members. To access the secure area, you will need the password. Please email me after Monday 26th October if you would like the password for access to the documents and I will get it sent to you as soon as possible after this date.
You may have heard rumours that a further two-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown may be imposed on this hospitality trade in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. Whilst we are hopeful that this doesn’t happen, we must prepare for the worst, and given the short notice that we had back in March when the first lockdown was announced, we may not have much time to prepare for any potential closure. Should the Government announce a mandatory closure, or any other restrictions such as a curfew for the hospitality industry, or areas of it, we will notify Members as soon as possible by the usual channels.
I hope this email has been able to answer some of your questions, and as usual I welcome any feedback, or further questions, which you can direct to me by replying to this email.
In the meantime, take care.
All the best,
Update Wednesday 29th July 2020
Good Morning Members,
Following on from a successful three weeks, I write to you today with some further changes as we move closer to our new normal.
I would like to personally thank our Members, on behalf of the staff, for your cooperation with and understanding of the measures that we have put in place to protect you and ourselves.
As with everything, we are learning new ways of working and things will progress and change over the weeks as we learn what works best in our Club. We want to keep our Members safe, but also happy.
From Saturday 1st August, in time for the FA cup final, I'm pleased to say that we will welcome back Guests to our Club, only in the company of Members. Each Member will be able to admit one Guest only at any time. The Guest must remain in the company of their associated Member, and when said Member leaves, their Guest must leave alongside them. Guests are not permitted to remain in the Club without their Member. All Members are responsible for the behaviour of their Guests, and responsible for signing their Guest in and paying the appropriate fee.
On Saturday, due to the football event, Guests will be welcomed at the door and their details recorded for our track and trace system. Guests in Members company will be encouraged to use the Pelly Bar, which will also be open and fully staffed in order to increase our indoor capacity to 80 people.
We cannot stress enough that Members maintain total responsibility for the Guests they sign in, and any misbehaviour or disrespect of our current guidelines will result in the Guest and possibly the Member being asked to leave.
Furthermore, from Saturday, we will reopen our bar for service. Service will no longer be restricted to table service only. There will be a one way system in operation along the length of the bar. Members should come to the bar one at a time, and enter the bar area behind the barrier nearest the lottery machine. Staff will welcome members to the bar, take their order and serve their drinks for collection on a tray. Members will leave the bar area at the far end of the bar nearest the racing corner. There is to be absolutely no standing, sitting or mingling at the bar. The bar will be open to order and collect drinks, and then move away back to a seat. Table service will still be on offer during quieter periods, and we encourage Members to take advantage of this.
Every Member/Guest that enters the bar must have their own seat. We ask that you remain seated where possible, but should you need to stretch your legs, please do so by standing alongside or behind your allocated seat. We also ask that if you do stand to stretch your legs, you do so around your tables, and not encroaching on the walkways throughout the club. This is also to assist with social distancing throughout the club and the free movement of our serving staff around the room. Our maximum capacity in both of our bars remains at 40, and we are still strongly encouraging social distancing.
Due to the football season coming to an end, our closing time will revert back to 9pm from Monday to Thursday. To confirm, our hours will be;
Monday to Thursday: 2pm-9pm
Friday and Saturday: 2pm-10pm
In the event of any football game running later than closing time, we will stay open until the game finishes.
We remain a very safe and comfortable place for you to come and enjoy a drink, with background music, a fully operational track and trace system and social distancing strongly encouraged. We are confident that we are doing everything we can to keep our Members and staff safe, and look forward to welcoming you back to the club very soon.
Until then, take care.
All the best,
Original Post July 2020
Dear Members and friends,
I hope this letter finds you and your families safe and well, and I am excited to finally be writing to you letting you know about the reopening of our fantastic Club.
I am thrilled to confirm that after 15 weeks of closure, Pelly House will reopen on Saturday 4th July at 3pm. In this letter, I will outline a wealth of information for Members, and although lengthy, it is vital that Members take all this information on board, in order to make the Club experience enjoyable and safe for each other and for our fantastic team of Staff.
The Club that you will return to will be quite different from the one you left 15 weeks ago. Everything that we have put in place, and the restrictions that we have to enforce are imposed on us by Government, so it is our duty to follow these through to protect our Members and Staff. To that end, I must plead with Members to bear with us over the next few weeks and months as we adjust to this new normal. We are grateful that we are in a position to reopen, and although not the same as before, some kind of opening is better than not being open at all.
From when we reopen, throughout the month of July and August, the Club will be open to STRICTLY MEMBERS ONLY. As we have to reduce our capacity, it would be unfair on Members to allow Guests to make use of the facilities. Members children under 18 are welcome, but they must strictly adhere to all the conditions laid out in this letter, including remaining seated with their parents for the duration of their visit. Anyone that does not hold a current and valid membership will not be welcome. Members children over 18 cannot attend at this time, unless they hold their own Membership. There will be no exceptions. We have temporarily suspended new Membership applications.
The door entry buzzer will be switched off for the foreseeable future. All Members must carry their white card to gain access to the building. Staff will not be allowing access to anyone who doesn’t have their card to get in. All Members have been issued with a Card, and if you have requested a new one but not yet collected it, it should be available behind the bar. If you do not have a Card, please inform the Staff ASAP.
Our opening hours will be temporarily changed, in order to maximise the sustainability of the Club at a much less capacity. From 4th July when we reopen our hours will be as follows; Monday to Saturday 3pm-10pm, Sunday 1pm-8pm. As usual, the bell will ring 10 minutes before closure, and the premises will need to be vacated within 30 minutes of closing time. Hours will be regularly reviewed.
Club Members should not attend the premises if they or anyone they live with is showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 including temperature, persistent cough or a change of loss of sense of smell/taste, or if they have been asked to self-isolate by the Governments Track and Trace system.
Upon entering, and throughout your stay at the Club, Members are asked to make use of the 12 hand sanitisers situated throughout the premises. We ask also that you wash your hands regularly, with soap and hot water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
We are required to take details of anyone using the facilities for the governments Track and Trace system. As we already have your details stored in our secure database, your full name is all we will need to take for now. As you enter, or whilst you are being served, a staff Member will log your full name. These records will be stored for 21 days, and then destroyed. No one will have access to the records.
The main bar has tables laid out in socially distanced format. We ask that you do not move any tables and chairs around, as they have been positioned in accordance with social distancing. There is capacity for 40 seated Members in the main bar, and additional seating in the Pelly Bar. There are 35 seats in the garden, and additional standing room in the garden. In wet weather, we will utilise the Pelly Bar to increase our internal capacity. If we reach or maximum safe capacity, we may be forced to stop any further entry until some Members leave.
The bar is not accessible for any Member. No service will be offered at the bar, and no one is permitted to stand or sit at the bar. Please do not cross the lines marked around the perimeter of the bar. We will be offering a full waitress service both inside and out. During some periods, it may be possible to serve Members in the garden from the garden windows. Upon arrival, please find an empty table either inside or out, and a staff member will be with you as soon as possible to take your order. When busy, staff will do their best to get to you as quick as possible. We ask where possible that payment is made by contactless payment, but if this isn’t an option for you, we will still accept cash.
For now, we are unable to offer any kind of live entertainment, subject to government guidelines. This means that for the foreseeable future, all entertainment is cancelled, including live acts, quiz and bingo nights. The TVs will remain switched on, but the controls will stay behind the bar. No Member is to have access to the TV controls. The volume must stay at a level deemed suitable by the Duty Manager, in order to ensure that people can hold conversations at a normal level, and not have to shout across tables. This is due to aerosol transmission which could be increased if people have to shout or scream. The jukebox will remain out of use for the time being, so as not to encourage loud music or communal dancing, both of which are deemed not acceptable to government guidelines. The fruit machines will remain switched on, and antibacterial wipes will be positioned near each machine. We encourage Members to wipe over the machine before and after use, but staff will also do this throughout the day.
We will be unable to offer our function room for private hire in the near future. If you have an impending booking, or indeed a function which was cancelled due to our closure, we will be in touch shortly.
Throughout your stay, you will notice regular antibacterial cleaning by the staff. They will be regularly cleaning all hand contact surfaces, including door handles, tables, fruit machines, and taps, sinks and toilet seats. All tables will be sanitised after each use.
We ask that when using the toilets, you try to manage social distancing guidelines, by only allowing one person in at a time. Obviously, this would be difficult for us to manage without employing a full-time toilet attendant, so we ask that Members take responsibility of the guidelines and apply social distancing throughout.
Although we have to enforce these guidelines, and the Club will be a slightly different experience, we are confident that we can create a safe and relaxed atmosphere for Members to enjoy a drink and a chat to friends they haven’t seen in a long time. Whilst our reopening isn’t quite the grand party we hoped for, it will be safe and enjoyable, as long as Members all play their part to look after one another.
Our staff will be responsible for helping to enforce these measures, so if you are politely reminded of the procedures, please take our advice in good taste. We are not here to be the “fun police”, but to keep us all safe. This is a whole new way of working for us, so please bear with us in the coming weeks as no doubt there will be slip ups, but rest assured we will do our very best to get back to some kind of normal!
If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to send me an email! Myself and the team are looking forward to returning to work next week and can’t wait to see you all, In the meantime, take care, stay safe and enjoy the rest of the good weather!
All the best,