It was recently announced with some ambiguity that we would have to close to guests at 6pm and stop serving alcohol completely:
"From 6pm on Friday, our national measures will be amended to introduce new restrictions for hospitality and indoor entertainment attractions.
"Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will have to close by 6pm and will not be allowed to serve alcohol.
"After 6pm they will only be able to provide takeaway services.
"From the same date, indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades, must close.
"Indoor visitor attractions, such as museums, galleries and heritage sites will also have to close. Outdoor visitor attractions will remain open."
Whilst these regulations were ambigious they are deemed as law and therefore measures were taken to wind down our December B & B and Dinner, B & B and Ghost Tours and Weddings.
A glimmer of hope was provided by announcements from UKHospitality that in addition the suspension of Travel Restrictions through the whole of UK from 23 – 27th December that we may be able to trade as below:
1. Hospitality settings, including restaurants, cafés, pubs, and bars can open indoors and outdoors for the consumption of food and non-alcoholic drinks but must close to all members of the public by 18:00. Alcoholic drinks cannot be served or consumed at any time within these premises and this will be strictly enforced. Takeaway services can still operate as normal, providing food and drinks are sold for consumption off the premises and no alcohol is sold after 22:00. Premises with a license for off-sales can continue to sell alcohol up until 22:00 as part of the takeaway offer. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.
2. Hotels and other accommodation providers can serve food and non-alcoholic drinks in bar/restaurant areas within their premises up to 22:00 but must close by 18:00 to non-residents. For room service, residents can order food and drink at any time for consumption in their own rooms only, but must not include alcohol after 22:00 and before 06:00 the following morning. For bookings made for weddings and civil partnership receptions and funeral wakes before 30 November to be held in hotels and other accommodation (for up to the maximum of 15 people allowed), non-residents and residents can remain until 22:00 for food and non-alcoholic drinks. For those booked after 30th November the venue must close by 18:00 to non-residents.
(a)I can therefore confirm that in limited capacity as above, we are able to host both Wedding Ceremonies and Wedding Receptions (for up to 15 people) to include Wedding Breakfast, Non-Alcoholic Drinks and Buffets – up to 10pm irrespective as to whether your Wedding Guests are residents or not.
Whilst this has been confirmed by Mid Wales Tourism as below:
All hospitality settings, including restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors and outdoors for the consumption of food and non-alcoholic drinks and must close by 6pm
· Alcoholic drinks cannot be served or consumed at any time within these premises and this will be strictly enforced.
· Takeaway services can still operate as normal, provided food and drinks are sold for consumption off the premises and do not include alcohol after 22:00.
· Premises with a license for off-sales can continue to sell alcohol until 22:00 as part of the takeaway offer. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.
· Hotels and other accommodation providers can remain open and can serve food and non-alcoholic drinks in bar/restaurant areas within their premises up to 22:00 to residents, but must close by 18:00 to non-residents. For room service, residents can order food and drink at any time for consumption in their own rooms, but this must not include alcohol after 22:00. No alcohol can be served to guests in their bedrooms between 10pm and 06am following morning.
· All indoor attractions and indoor entertainment venues must close. For breweries, vineyards, distilleries etc it will depend on your individual circumstances and what licences are held by the business
(b) On reflection, the scope to hold Ghost Tours is compounded by (is it being held at an Entertainment Venue, or do we have to close at 10pm because the law says we have to meaning that residents can only remain in the lounge and does it mean that, our Ghost Hunters from Tier 2 or 3 (as per the guidance cannot travel.
As it stands Wales does not permit any cross border travel without a reasonable excuse and to take a holiday is not currently considered a reasonable excuse.
Please be aware that although England's lockdown period ends on Wednesday, the travel restrictions in Wales have not changed.
The next Welsh Government review will be on Friday 4th December 2020 and this is the earliest date that the WG can change the current travel restriction regulations. .
There is no indication that visitors in high incident areas in the UK including Tier 2 or Tier 3 areas in England will be permitted to travel into Wales. When accepting forward bookings please bear this in mind.
So, what does this mean?
Until the Welsh Government change the travel restriction regulations, which could remain in place until 19/2/21 no non essential travel is permitted into Wales from other parts of the UK. The WG can change the rules. The next review will take place on 3rd December.
NB: Guidance can differ across the four nations in the UK - please ensure that any guidance or updates on regulations that you use relate to Wales regulations and guidance.
(c) Therefore, with Ghost Tours being cancelled it is not cost effective to have any overnight guests staying at the Castle and it therefore means that we have to cancel all booked Accommodation, whether on a B & B basis or Dinner, B & B basis.
We had looked very carefully at the rules and regulations in regards to the Christmas bookings from the period 23rd December to 27th December, in regards to the hours that customers were permitted to dine (up to 10pm) and the fact that 4 could be seated per table and that the travel restrictions were being lifted – feedback was that some customers would stay, even if alcohol was not being served. It was also thought (and I strongly believe that alcohol will be permitted from 17/12/20) else it means no alcohol being served until the next review of 8th January.
As customers had previously been cancelling their Christmas break, to book with family now that Xmas bubbles were being allowed (at home only) we had to weight up a number of things – (1) the atmosphere that may be presented at a less than full Castle (2) the fact that alcohol may not be served (3) the fact that the regulations may change again and (4) the overall income and expenditure and profit ratio over that period.
(d) Sadly, taking all those (4) elements into account – it has sadly been brought to the realisation, that it is NOT feasible to hold any Christmas Festivities this year and that means that all Accommodation, Christmas Dinner over the festive period will be cancelled.
(a) Weddings will remain under current guidelines.
(b) Ghost Tours and non-wedding related events will be cancelled with immediate affect from 01/12/20 until 08/01/21
(c) All Accommodation – whether on a B & B or D, B & B basis will be cancelled with immediate affect from 01/12/20 until 08/01/21 except those that accompany Wedding bookings, either the day before or the day of the Wedding.
(d) All Christmas Festive Bookings for both Accommodation and Christmas Dinner will be cancelled.
Whilst I appreciate the short notice, I am sure that you will understand and appreciate that we had planned for things to go ahead as normal based on the ending of the English Lockdown, the end of the Firebreak and the coming together of the UK nations over Christmas. Sadly, yesterday Mark Drakeford the First Minister announced a combination of measures that effectively put is between the Tier 2 equivalent (can serve food) and Tier 3 equivalent (cannot serve alcohol). It is therefore with sincerest apologies that any events at (b), (c) and (d) have to be cancelled and for any inconvenience caused.
You will be contacted over the next few days in regards to immediate bookings by our Wedding and Events team in the first instance in order to arrange cancellation of these bookings. As payments will not have been taken, you will of course not have to pay.
You will then shortly be contacted by our Reception Supervisor, who will be calling you directly in order to advise of cancellation. You will also receive a confirmation email cancelling your booking and where a deposit has been paid, arrangements for the refund will be made – refunds are usually made to the same card that the deposit was taken. Where we cannot contact you by phone we will email you and post a letter to you.
Naturally, way back in March we had thought that by Christmas, not least when Boris Johnson announced that things will be back to normal by December, we did not realise how wrong those words were to be.
Once again, on behalf of all the staff at Craig Y Nos Castle, we do sincerely wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you at the Castle when allowed.
As no doubt you can imagine the process of contacting customers is being worked through slowly and takes time and if you have not been contacted by our staff by Friday evening – feel free to email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see where we are at and how I can help. Please remember that staff are working mainly from home (therefore calls may go unanswered) however we value your custom and I can assure you, that you will be contacted.