**5 July 2021 update**
Subject to a further announcement on 12 July 2021 all remaining Covid 19 restrictions will finally be lifted on July 19 2021……this means that facemask wearing inside an enclosed space will become voluntary, all social distancing guidance will be scrapped and restrictions on group size both inside and out will be withdrawn. A few provisions may remain at the House in the short term with a view to a measured return back to normal as full confidence returns…this includes retention of a hand sanitiser point at the main entrance, basic standard room service, the continuation of serving to table at breakfast and keeping dining table allocation to rooms. The return of self-service breakfast buffet shall also remain on hold for the time being.
From 19 July 2021 your hosts at the House shall not be wearing facemasks….some guests may still choose to wear a facemask in the House which of course is a personal choice and will be respected.
We take Covid 19 very seriously and recognise that although legal restrictions are relaxed the virus will remain with us for some time to come. Unless something dramatic or unexpected happens this will be our last update on Covid 19…..our sincere thanks go to all our guests that supported us throughout….Exmoor without restrictions is just around the corner!
**10 May 2021 update**
The Govt today confirmed that England will move to step 3 in the latest move refecting the improving Covid 19 situation. Hospitality (pubs / cafe’s / restaurants / accommodation etc) will re-open on 17 May 2021 subject to existing indoor rules re social distancing and mask wearing being maintained and group size restricted to a maximum of 6 people or 2 households.
We look forward to welcoming guests once again on the momentous day!
** 22 February 2021 update **
Today’s announcement by the Govt gives clarity on the way out of lockdown. Monday 17 May 2021 is the big day for us…from that date we’ll be able to take and honour new reservations without fear of having to cancel them…this assuming all goes well with the slow re-introduction back to normal !
All guests with reservations before Monday 17 May 2021 have now been contacted and either cancelled or rebooked. For those guests that have paid in advance and unable to rebook refunds are in process. We would like to thank all our guests who continue to support us…you have our gratitude.
We’ll be continuing with our Covid 19 regime at the House for the time being until the guidance suggests it’s safe to cease all procedures and restrictions. This means for the time being at least facemasks are to be worn and social distancing maintained.
Better days for everyone!!
** 5 January 2021 update **
The UK Govt last night announced further restrictions as new variant Covid infection rates continue to rise….all UK nations are now subject to lockdown of one type or another. As a consequence we have now re-scheduled our re-opening to Saturday 27 February 2021….and having recently experienced the way of past lockdowns and Tier structures we offer this new re-opening date with nothing less than a healthy degree of optimism!
We’ll contact guests with February 2021 reservations and offer the option to re-book or a full refund where bookings have been paid for in advance. As always no guest will incur any cancellation charge as a result of Govt rules or restrictions.
Our sincere thanks go to our guests who continue to support us during these difficult and unpredictable times.
** 30th December 2020 **
The Govt today announce further Tier restrictions. Somerset is now placed in Tier 4 which in itself does not affect us as we’re already closed…it does however demonstrate the increase in the current infectation rate and does nothing to make our February 2021 re-opening anything but less certain! Also announced today was the successful approval of the AstraZeneca anti Covid 19 Vaccine by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)…this is truly a day of highs and lows!
**********28 December 2020 update**********
As Somerset was reclassified as a Tier 3 location before Christmas 2020 we’re obliged to remain closed until these restrictions are either changed or lifted altogether. All reservations from Boxing Day 2020 to 1st February 2021 have now been cancelled and our thanks go to our guests for continued patience and support. As we anticipate being closed for the whole of January 2021 our plan is to re-open from 1st February 2021…this is our best guess based on previous one month Govt restrictions. We will operate in the same way as we have previously meaning that if any reservation is forced to cancel because of Govt restrictions guests will not be obliged to rebook or face any cancellation charges. Should further restrictions come into play which pushes back our provisional 1st February 2021 reopening date we shall contact affected guests in advance.
*********29 November 2020 update**********
The current lockdown position ends on 2 December 2020 which then leads straight into a new Govt Tier structure for England. A temporary 5 day ‘Christmas Holiday’ from the Tier restrictions is granted between 23 and 27 December 2020 which allows 3 households to form a temporary bubble that are able to mix indoors and stay overnight without any travel restrictions. Until then many areas of England will be in a higher Tier band than they were before the current lockdown came into force. (Tier restriction reviews are scheduled for 19 December.) Guests from Tier 1 and 2 will be welcome to stay with us throughout December 2020 although reservations from those living in a Tier 3 locations will not be allowed until revised Govt restrictions permit. We continue to operate the House within a Covid secure way which in Tier 2 means that a group of more than 2 people are not permitted to socialise (which includes sitting at the same table) unless part of the same family or bubble. Social distancing remains in place and guests still need to wear face masks on arrival and in public areas within the house except when sitting at a table.
As always our thanks go to all our guests who continue to support us wherever they hail from. Finally the cavalry has been spotted on the horizon…
**********31 October 2020 update**********
Thank you for checking back for the November update re Covid-19
The Government announce a further total lockdown for England to commence 5 November 2020 until at least 2 December 2020. Of course no bookings can be accepted for this period however the diary is open from 2 December 2020 onwards. All November reservations have now been contacted and re-booked or cancelled. We look forward to welcoming guests again once the current Covid situation improves. Guests will not face any cancellation charge if their reservation is prevented from going ahead as a result of Govt Covid-19 restrictions. We understand the Tier system will be re-introduced once the full lockdown comes to an end…the full implication of this and how it will affect the South West will no doubt show itself in due course. As always our appreciation goes to all our guests who continue to support us.
*********26 October 2020 update*********
Thank you for checking back for the October update re Covid-19
From 6pm on Friday 23 October, travel to and from the whole of Wales is prohibited as part of a Welsh national lockdown until 9 November. UK Govt have further announced measures for England in an on-going effort to slow down and hopefully stop rising Covid infection rates. In the South West the new Tier category system places our location in Tier 1 which is the lowest area category…Tier 3 being the highest.
As the South West is in Tier 1 the new rules will mostly apply to local restrictions on where a guest resides as Covid Tier levels in effect travel wherever the individual travels within the UK.
Visitors coming from another Tier 1 medium alert area face no new restrictions when staying in the South West…of course the current Covid rules remain in place including rule of 6 / social distancing / 10pm hospitality closing /wearing of face masks etc and guests are able to dine indoors in a group of 6 from any number of families.
Guests coming to visit us here in Somerset from a Tier 2 high alert area have further restrictions to comply with. Guests are advised to restrict travel to essential only and travel with people in their household or support bubble. They may dine in their group or support bubble but cannot dine indoors in a group exceeding 6. Dining outdoors in a group of 6 is permissible.
Guests are not permitted to visit us here in Somerset from a Tier 3 very high alert area. People are requested not to travel if residing in a Tier 3 area and if they do they must only travel to another Tier 3 for essential reasons only. Tier 3 residents are prohibited from socialising with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with in any indoor setting. There are some exceptions to this but in the main these are the rules. Staying overnight in a Tier 3 area is not permitted if it means being inside with people outside your household or support bubble. We regret to advise that we are not currently accepting reservations from current and future Tier 3 locations.
On a more positive note and one much closer to home is our pleasure to report that as far as we know, no guest or member of staff has been ill or shown any Covid symptom either during or immediately after staying with us here at ECH. For this we are grateful to all guests for following the rules of the House and of course outside in the wider environment…thanks to everyone…you can all come again!!
***********23 September 2020 update*********
Thank you for checking back for the September update re Covid-19
The Govt have recently introduced further Covid 19 measures due to come into force on 24 September 2020…it looks very much like that these new changes will one way or another affect most people currently living in the UK for at least the next 6 months. The hospitality industry is particularly challenged in meeting these new restrictions but looking on the bright side we are not facing a complete lockdown in the way that we were back on the 23 March 2020. Face masks will now have to be worn by guests when in the House unless eating or drinking when sitting at a table or in the privacy of their own room.
Sally will be serving breakfast and evening dinner wearing a face mask and from hereon, the Honesty Bar will close at 10pm. At check-in we shall be wearing face masks and the same is expected of arriving guests. If wearing a face mask is problematic for the guest we would respectfully ask that the guest does not make a reservation at this time as no exception to this face mask wearing rule will be made. Once in the House guests will need to use face masks whenever moving around public areas including the Honesty Bar area.
Guests will find an Exmoor Country House QR scan code for track and trace purposes located in the front porch..it’s not mandatory that this is used as the lead booker will have already submitted validated contact details for the group when making the reservation nevertheless guests are encouraged to scan the QR subject to having the app on an up to date iPhone or Android device. A single group of 6 persons is the maximum group size that we will accommodate…group size larger than this will not be permitted.
Continued guest understanding and support makes for an easier task of running a tight ship within the Covid rules and regulations…our thanks go to all our guests who have played such an important part in helping to keep us all safe and well during recent months at Exmoor Country House.
*********** 24 August 2020 update ***********
Thank you for checking back for the August update re Covid-19
As owner operators Sally and I are the ones who will deal with every aspect of your stay either before, during or after. Since re-opening six weeks ago, the Covid procedures we put in place at that time remain in place. Guests common-sense and respect for others have made our job much easier than it might have otherwise been…and more importantly no guest (as far as it’s possible for us to know) has been ill or shown any adverse symptoms of Covid-19 since our re-opening….for this we are truly thankful for everyone who has played their part.
Guests have us asked many questions about what we do behind the scenes and how we deal with daily things like offering breakfast in a Covid safe and manageable way. For those who have asked the question and for those thinking about staying with us, here is a blow by blow account of how we manage breakfast here at the House.
Guests will normally come down for breakfast anytime between 8am and 930am…we don’t need to know the exact time or what guests would like for breakfast…..so far so good! Each guest has their own table exclusively for their own use during their stay and tables are left bare until the guest arrives…when they do Sally brings to table things like cutlery, condiments etc as well as a newly printed daily breakfast menu. After taking the guest order everything will be served to the guest at their table. At the end of breakfast service, guests usually head back to their room and everything else usually heads back to the kitchen. Cutlery and crockery etc goes through a high temperature deep clean dishwasher cycle and all condiments including toast racks, salt/pepper pots etc etc are hand wiped using 99.99% antibacterial wipes. All unused and unopened items such as jam pots etc are then quarantined for up to 4 days. Our two secure quaratine areas located on the ground and first floors are where all quarantine items are left undisturbed for at least 72 hours. After the quarantine period has elapsed items are then returned back to stock.
We look forward to welcoming all guests and hope everyone enjoys their breakfast!!
********** 22 July 2020 Update **********
Thank you for checking back for the July update re Covid-19
Now that everyone is beavering away in the new norm we’re reverting to our usual 6 days a week for guest evening dinner so from the end of July 2020 the pots and pans will be clattering every day except Sunday. Pre-order evening dinner the day before arrival from the menu.
The following is a quick resume of what you can expect from us during the current situation.
The new face mask rule for shoppers will come into effect on 24 July which of course does not affect us as an accommodation provider. It’s up to guests to choose whether or not to wear a face mask in the House..it’s not something guests are generally choosing to do however the choice is a personal one and belongs entirely with the guest.
There’s no need to book a time slot for breakfast.
Guests will be shown to their room…a morning newspaper may be ordered which will be left outside the guest bedroom in the morning.
We are not operating a 2 night minimum stay policy.
We won’t be asking guests to fill out a pre-arrival health questionnaire or taking an infra red temperature check on arrival.
We are asking guests to maintain social distancing…all guests will be shown and instructed on new House rules and Covid procedures.
If you are not feeling well please do not travel.
If you have a reservation please check here from time to time for the latest information.
Following government permission (23 June 2020) we shall reopen the House to guests from Saturday 4 July 2020.
On the 4 July the 2m social distancing rule will be dropped in favour of a new 1m plus mitigation rule. We believe social distancing of 1m plus can be comfortably maintained in the House.
Surfaces regularly touched like door handles etc will have disinfection surface wipes placed nearby and of course hand sanitizer gel stations will be located throughout the House. We’ll be wiping these often used surfaces throughout the day.
Guests will be able to pre-order evening dinner every night of the week except Sunday…only guests are offered the option of evening dinner as we not open to the public.
We shall not be setting out our normal breakfast buffet however Sally will be delighted to serve guests from the kitchen anything that would normally be put out for self-service. Full cooked English breakfast will of course still be available and cooked to order. Table menu’s will be removed along with other items normally out on the breakfast/dinner table. Cutlery will be sanitized before being brought out to the guest table and each room will have their own table for their exclusive use at breakfast and/or dinner for the duration of their stay.
There are changes to what we have in our rooms and how we manage our housekeeping. The following steps and measures have been taken to ensure good health and wellbeing for all our guests, our staff and ourselves.
Radio, robes, alarm clock, pen/paper and hairdryer have all been removed from your room. If you would like any item reinstated please let us know.
Magazines and books have also been removed from the guest bedroom. If you would like reading material please help yourself from the selection on the table outside your room. Quarantine trays will be available for guests to deposit handled printed material. Guests will be able to pre-order their own morning newspaper.
Remote controls are sealed in clear protective bags.
Your room will have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to your arrival. Beds will have been completely stripped and the mattress misted with a low odour 99.99% effective disinfectant (Nemisis eH2O.) Beds will be remade using fresh and sanitised bed linen
For now we shall be suspending normal daily room service…however we shall carry out a reduced daily basic room service.
Things which we shall not be doing in the daily basic service include…
Room tidy up
Handling used towels
Sanitizing/wiping any items or surfaces
Basic servicing of guest bedrooms will only take place once the room is empty.
Please use the personal sanitizer gel in your room with our compliments.
We have decided not to introduce guest temperature testing as we understand skin surface temperature tests to be of limited value. Temperature tests are not mandatory in the UK.
We’ll appreciate card payments where possible…we will however still accept cash.
If guests feel unwell on or before the check-in date we ask that they do not travel but stay at home and seek immediate help by visiting www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 Advice will be given should a guest become unwell while staying with us.
Our large private garden will be available to guests to fully enjoy Exmoory weather..!
We’re very mindful that guests visit Exmoor to relax and enjoy quality time in a beautiful and tranquil location. Although Covid 19 may be disruptive government guidance is issued for the health and safety of us all. As owners of ECH we shall apply the guidelines with diligence and without exception but we’ll do our very best not overburden our guests by going beyond government advice and guidelines. If there is anything of specific concern regarding an existing or a new reservation please ask……if we can answer it we will.
We would sincerely like to thank everyone for being so patient and supportive during a difficult time for us all…we look forward to welcoming you back to Exmoor in all it’s blooming loveliness!