New regulations - your questions answered

There are new regulations with effect from Monday 14th that will effect how we manage bookings and visitor numbers.

We will try and answer your questions here but do get in touch privately if you want to know something that we haven’t covered.

Group bookings of more than 6 are not permitted (unless your group is one household/support bubble). How do you intend to manage that?

We have an online booking system that on the whole has worked really well so far.

We put the hard work in back in July when we personally set this up to allow for:

  • staggered starts

  • prioritised table allocation (even though capacity is reduced, tables are very much spaced apart and mitigation is in place, we have gone further by specifying that where possible neighbouring bookings should not arrive at the same time).

  • where a start time isn’t available the system shows you alternative options

  • allows you to input special requirements

  • gives you remote access to make changes to your reservation 24/7

  • enables for capture of NHS Test and Trace details

The new rules will not effect this as we have always had in place a prompt, whereby groups larger than 6 have to book directly. This facilitates a direct conversation between us that allows us to check your needs and discuss compliance.

How are you ensuring visits are within guidelines?

In addition to the above, we already have pre-booking guidance in line with current guidelines. Yes, we understand that there is a personal obligation for visitors to know the rules and adhere to them...but let’s face it, we all know that things change quickly and can be confusing.

As a business we choose not to ‘pass the buck’ or hide behind an ‘ignorance is bliss’ attitude. We can ONLY do this with your help of course, and we ask for honesty from every visitor with regard their booking needs.

From 14th September 2020 we will be changing that pre-booking guidance so that you can let us know if your booking consists of people who do not live together.

We will then personally consider how best to accommodate you and confirm your booking once we know whether we can suit your social distancing needs.

Please do not be offended where we sadly cannot accept a booking. It doesn’t make us feel good to do so...but our integrity is key to your trust in us to provide transparency and ‘covid confidence’ to you, others, our family and our community.

In England, this is 2 metres. Where it's not possible to be 2m away, you can stay "1m plus" apart. The "plus" means doing something else to limit your possible exposure - like wearing a face covering.

What about group events?

We are a dedicated hospitality venue, operating within the wider ‘visitor economy’; guidance clarifies that COVID secure venues can continue to host people up to their social distancing capacity but that no one can visit in a group of more than 6 (except for the exemptions and where the household - including bubble - is greater than 6). This means that whilst we cannot host a private birthday party as we did under the pre-Covid system, we can host clay workshops, studio-led events etc. Each are booking seperately, which negates that temptation for social interaction between such bookings.

Why do you now have minimum painter numbers?

We implemented minimum painter numbers on every booking when we reopened. This currently stands at a minimum of two painters on any booking, and at least half of your group being painting visitors, where bookings are for more than 3.

This is not about greed! It is about the ability to sustain the business and stay open. We already have much to fight against...reduced capacity, increased cost, restriction of large private celebrations etc. All of this remains a huge blow and we hope you understand our position on minimum painter numbers at this time.

What about when actually visiting?

Let’s face it, many of the current restrictions go against our natural instincts to help people...simple things like popping an apron on a child, holding baby whilst parent gets the pram sorted...the list goes on!

But we are reassured by our consistent feedback from you guys that your stay still feels relaxing and inviting.

In addition to all we have mentioned above, we have welcome advice at every table to help you understand the new layout and what’s happening around you, alongside what is expected of you when visiting. The government guidelines specify for example, that children must be supervised by you at all times.

We have painting guidance at the table to reduce that contact time...this doesn’t mean we can’t chat to you! Our great relationships with our customers is a huge part of our service. We are wearing face visors, and would encourage you to ask us for any advice you need when here.

What about shared equipment?

There is an increased risk when sharing equipment. This is why paints aren’t on tables and why you keep the glazes that are ordered with your home pottery packs. We cannot adequately sanitise liquids. We cannot be sure that lids are not removed or airbourne particles aren’t transmitted through having paints for prolonged periods on tables/at home.

Additionally, we advise that you avoid passing equipment between those you do not live with.

We have already mitigated the ‘shared materials’ element of your visit. All glazes, tools and materials are chosen by individuals at our new equipment zone, with hand sanitiser within the zone and regular cleaning of the area. Brushes and water pots are provided on tables already and where asked, we can provide extra of those to accommodate separate households.

Regular hand washing is encouraged and facilities provided for this. We also have 3 hand sanitising stations, located to facilitate every studio area.

But what about around the studio?

In addition to all of the above, we have Covid screens in place in key areas, we have mitigation between tables such as back to back seating, we have designated walkways, we have ‘no-queue’ systems operating, we have contactless pottery collection in place, we have enhanced cleaning in all areas...all this and much more - a lot of which goes on behind the scenes - to ensure we are doing everything we can to make your stay welcoming, enjoyable and covid confident.

All visitor numbers are managed; visits to the studio are currently ONLY allowed where you are painting or collecting, and these are managed in strict numbers through online booking. All other enquiries are dealt with remotely.

Even pottery collections are managed so that nobody is coming in or out at key times such as painter start/finish times. Collection numbers are also limited to 5 per 15 minutes so that there is reduced need for you to queue outside.

We have tried to think of everything and there have sure been times when our brains have frazzled, as we aim to find solutions for the best ways forward! Fingers seems to all work smoothly so far! Do get in touch privately and directly if you have any questions or concerns...we will do all we can to help!