Starling Covid-19 Info

Following on from the Covid-19 government guidance now issued on the reopening of hospitality businesses (click here to view), we wanted to clearly communicate what we’re doing at Starling and why we’re doing it. We’re hoping that by sharing this on our website as well as our Covid-19 risk assessment (click here to view), it gives a clear idea of what to expect prior to visiting when Starling reopens and what has changed a bit from our usual routines. This in turn will hopefully reassure you, our customers, that we are following the guidance and have a clear plan to keep customers and staff as safe and comfortable as possible in these strange times.

The measures we have put in place will undoubtedly make for a slower and less efficient service, as we bed these new procedures in over the coming weeks and maintain them throughout this period of socially distanced operation. Please bear with us, be patient and do your best to comply with the changes we have had to put in place.

Here are the key changes:

  1. We will be operating a strictly table service only policy for all customers drinking/dining in with us. A member of the team will help you find a table if required and a member of staff will serve you at your table for the entirety of your visit from taking an order to taking payment. Please don’t go up to the bar for anything as it will all be done at your table. The only exception is those wanting food or drinks to take away and a member of staff will take your order at the bar and direct you from there to a waiting area in the front window. We won’t be able to offer draft beer tasters during the restrictions as we usually would and our can fridge is to be used by staff only.
  2. We are going card payments only and will not accept cash. Our new card machines will be configured to take tip payments too if you’ve had great service from the team during your visit. Any tips will be split fairly across the whole team on top of their pay and are not used to make up any statutory pay rate levels.
  3. We have invested in an optional online table booking system which should be up and running at some point during the first week of reopening. We would encourage people to use this as much as possible to give them the security of knowing they have a space reserved, but this won’t be in any way mandatory as we appreciate it doesn’t suit everyone. We will continue to welcome walk-in trade and any remaining tables are on a first come first served basis. We expect to be operating at around 60% of normal seated capacity.
  4. We have provided a hand sanitiser point at the entrance door, please sanitise your hands on the way in. In between groups using a table, our staff will be cleaning and sanitising all relevant touchpoints on tables, chairs, menus, etc using a checklist which we have devised. If you are arriving, please be patient with your server who may yet need to sanitise the table for you. We will also be doing the same to a regular roster for other communal use areas such as doors, stairs and toilets. We have removed some of our usual facilities, such as self service water points, to eliminate the chance of virus transmission.
  5. We are limiting it to a maximum of 8 people in a single group to enable us to limit the risk and best manage the customer space we have. Government guidelines state that a single group sharing a table indoors is limited to a maximum of 2 households (including their supporting bubble) up to a maximum of 30. This also means we are unable to take any event bookings or room hire of large groups at this time. We are also unable to run events such as our Thursday night quiz, live music, tastings, comedy club etc.
  6. Government guidelines have asked hospitality businesses that are reopening to support NHS Test and trace. So we will be asking all customers for their contact details as part of our new service procedure. We will be storing this data securely on our table booking software from Opentable.
  7. In line with government guidelines our staff will not be required to wear any extra PPE such as face masks or gloves. Guidelines discourage use of PPE as it’s use in providing additional protection against transmission of covid-19 is extremely limited unless you are in a very high risk situation such as a hospital for example. Instead guidelines advise more regular surface cleaning, hand washing/sanitising and social distancing are far more effective measures of lower transmission risk.
  8. We have set out our tables and chairs to allow for the 2m or 1 metre plus mitigation In customer areas our mitigation is that customers on adjacent tables will always be back to back. We have removed tables to allow for wide transit areas in each room which have guidance arrows on the floor. Please do not attempt to move tables around yourself as this may cause a breach of the 1m+ rule. Instead please ask the member of staff working in that area.
  9. We have made some areas such as our staircases “single file only” as per floor markings as we cannot adapt or increase the space we have in these areas in any way. Our toilets are also tight so please follow signage and directional arrows, observe max entry numbers and queuing floor markings. These are different for ladies and gents. Please use your common sense and show respect for other customers and our staff.
  10. Unfortunately we have had to temporarily remove the play kitchen, books and toys from the barn whilst the restrictions are in place. We also ask parents to ensure their children remain seated at their table throughout their visit and are not allowed to run around unaccompanied at any time. We will still have limited space under the main staircase to store buggies and push chairs as usual, but sadly due to social distancing rules, our staff won’t be able to help customers up the stairs with them as we usually would.
  11. We will continue to welcome customers with dogs in the ground floor bar area only, but please be aware that the seating capacity in this area has had to be significantly reduced.