Lock-down restrictions across the UK will be further relaxed this Saturday, July 4th, allowing for the reopening of pubs and restaurants as long as safety measures are in place and enforced.
In Hambledon, The Merry Harriers will reopen at midday, just over 100 days since it was required to close.
Behind the scenes, general manager Jake Andreou has been working hard to ensure the pub can comply with detailed government guidelines to protect staff, locals and staying guests from the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
A member of staff will meet and greet customers arriving at the main entrance. The new measures will be explained, any questions answered, and a contact taken for individuals or for one member if in a small group. Drinks can be ordered at the bar, which has a Perspex screen installed, and will be delivered to you at a table. Payment will be by card.
A one-way system will be in place and customers will enter and leave by different doors. Tables and benches – inside and in the garden areas – have been situated to ensure correct social distancing can be maintained. A marquee has been erected on the boules court and this may also have a bar for outside drinkers.
All customers – individuals or self-contained family groups – must ensure they keep at least 1 metre apart from others at all times, and this will be rigidly enforced as required by the official guidelines.
Jake and sous chef Nick Ash have spruced up all the garden furniture, flower borders and vegetable garden and the pub rooms have been deep cleaned. Writing in the July edition of the Hambledon Parish Magazine, delivered to subscribers last weekend, Jake said: “We are looking forward to welcoming you all back to the pub almost as much as you’re probably looking forward to getting down for a pint”.
The Harriers had to close its doors on Friday March 20th, when Jake called time at 8pm – an unprecedented moment in the long history of Hambledon’s 16th Century pub. Since then, many local friends and families will have seen little or nothing of each other, so the reopening this weekend will have been long-anticipated.
Table booking resumes next Monday. In the kitchen head chef David Totterdell and Nick will be implementing strict measures, and it is likely that customers will have to wait a little longer for both food and drinks. Patience and understanding will be required.
The following is from the pub’s Facebook page.
Joining us for a drink & some food?
When arriving at the Merry Harriers you will be greeted by a member of our team at the door. They will advise you of the one-way system and the social distancing that is in place.
You will also find hand sanitising stations at the front door & various other spots around the inn. These are there for both staff & customers safety, so please do use them.
You may find that you have a longer wait as we only have one member of staff behind the bar, and a maximum of 6 people in the bar area at any one time. You will also find that the bar stools have been removed & a screen with serving hatch has been introduced.
We are operating a cashless bar, and receipts will be emailed to you via our till system if you wish.
In our kitchen we will only have two chefs working at any one time, so please be aware that this may cause a longer wait than usual, but we will make it worth your while.
We are offering table service only for food and all staff will be wearing PPE with food & drinks carried to tables on trays.
Staying with us?
If you are checking in for a stay, we will contact you beforehand to arrange a check in procedure, the same with checking out. Payment can also be taken over the phone for all of our guests staying, to avoid waiting around in the bar area or joining the queue.
Continental breakfast will be provided as room service. Cooked breakfasts can be arranged to be served & eaten in the restaurant. Sadly, we will not be providing a buffet.
For lunch & dinner, guests will be asked to make a table reservation & we will be offering table service.