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Dear Guests,                                                                  

As you are aware the wearing of face masks in England will no longer be compulsory from 19th July 2021. That is very welcome news for the vast majority of our members. Of course, for some members and indeed some staff, it is fully appreciated that not everyone will be fully comfortable with this step at this stage, and they will take a period of time to adjust to the lifting of this particular restriction.  It is because of this that I am writing to outline the view which the Club has taken on this matter. 

Until the 19th July 2021, the wearing of masks remains compulsory in the Club unless a member or guest is exempted, is in their bedroom, or is seated at a table and having a drink or meal.  Masks must be worn by members and staff entering the Club and walking in the public areas, including corridors. 

You may be aware that on 5th July 2021, Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, outlined his three personal guidelines for when we should continue to wear masks after the restrictions have been lifted.  He is quoted as follows: ”The first is in any situation is indoors and crowded, or indoors with close proximity to other people. And that is because masks help protect other people.” He added: “The second situation is if I was required to by any competent authority … And the third reason is if someone else was uncomfortable if I did not wear a mask – as a point of common courtesy.”.  These three points are not a formal requirement, but they contain some important principles.

From 19th July 2021 the Club’s policies will be fully in-step with the Government’s position.  However some Members, guests and staff may choose to continue to wear facemasks inside the Club for a range of reasons, especially if they perceive that an area within the Club is crowded. The Club entirely supports this personal perspective.  To minimise crowding the Club will maintain our existing ‘one-way’ system through the breakfast buffet area. We will also seat members and guests with as much spacing as possible within The Grill and Dining Room. In line with Professor Whitty’s third point, we would ask members to continue to show “common courtesy” to each other and the staff by wearing a mask if someone is uncomfortable.  This is a judgement matter which you are asked to consider, but is consistent with the Club’s long-held tradition of members not inadvertently creating situations which adversely impact on the enjoyment of the Club by others.  In addition, the Club’s staff will, on request, wear masks when serving members and guests at their specific table, but they will not routinely wear them in the Dining Room, Lounge Bar, or other public areas.  If a Club member visits a Club office and wishes the member of staff to wear a mask then we will do so willingly.  Please understand that in some areas, Club staff will still operate behind screens after 19th July 2021.  These include the Porters Desk, Club Reception and the Membership Office.  If necessary, we can provide masks to members and guest who require them, and who do not have them when they arrive here.   

Although the restrictions have been lifted we wish to offer a service to members which supports a flexible and personal approach on the wearing of face masks, so that members can enjoy their visit to the VSC.  As we have since March 2020, we will continue to review the steps we have implemented to keep our members, guests and staff safe and well when inside the Club.  

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Beet