LockHouse Recovery and Risk Assessment
(Health and Safety Protocol)
This document forms the basis of our Coronavirus protocol for August.
We will issue a revised version of this policy each month as government advice changes.
During these less comfortable times we ask both customers and staff members to work together to minimise the spread of the virus. We ask for kindness, compassion, and a little bit of patience from all parties.
This will make our day at work less fun, but we have a duty to protect each other, our lovely customers, and everyone else we come into contact with outside of work.
Because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, it is important we take steps to ensure all areas of the business are safe for our customers and team members.
One-page summary of staff Covid-19 duties
- Game briefings are done at 2m distance, with a rope separating customers from GMs. It is the responsibility of staff members to stand far enough from the rope.
- Masks are not obligatory for staff or customers unless you need to come within 2m of each other. You may gently offer a mask, but we cannot insist.
- Customers may insist that staff wear masks during their interaction—please mask immediately upon their request.
- Hand sanitiser is obligatory on entry to the building.
- GMs are to wipe down every frequently touched surface and prop within the games with Dettol cleaning spray. If this isn’t possible (e.g. fabric chairs in SA, 1000 pebbles in Egypt), then spray with the Dettol aerosol disinfectant. Pay extra attention to combination locks, which should be covered in spray then rubbed.
- All external game doors stay open during reset until just before the next group arrives. If another group sees into an open door, that is ok.
- Office window, front door, and back door stay open at all times.
- Air con stays on at all times.
- GMs get players to briefing areas by instructing them to follow in 5 seconds. GMs then gets into position and puts the rope across.
- When there is a customer group in the foyer, GMs put a rope across the door. Rope is removed when foyer is empty to allow walk-ins.
- GMs are to report to Harry if they’ve been in contact with anyone suspected of having Covid-19. They must then immediately go and get tested at a drive-through to get a result in 24 hours.
- GMs must wash their hands before and after each reset.
- GMs must keep to the same desk or GM station throughout their whole shift. Sanitise your station if this isn’t possible.
- Players must wash or sanitise their hands before and after game. (Washing is preferable and players don’t seem to mind so far.)
LockHouse’s responsibilities for managing risks to staff
As an employer, LockHouse Games is responsible for consulting team members about health and safety within the organisation during the Covid-19 outbreak. We have done this via:
- A team members’ survey prior to reopening, in which all team members were encouraged to report their honest thoughts, feelings and suggestions in terms of health and safety within the organisation. This information has been included within this policy.
- Advising team members to select a health and safety representative, as there is no union presence within the organisation. This policy has been shared with them for comments prior to being finalised.
- Asking all team members to complete a personal risk assessment to assess their safety in returning to work. This will inform our planning for returning to work.
The government guidance states that employees should work from home if this is at all possible. By the nature of our work, this is not possible. Staff need to be onsite to do their job. Any tasks which can be done from home will be. However, for most, this is not possible.
In order to reduce workplace risks, we have considered our specific working environment and put in place measures to mitigate the risks as far as possible. This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment, or equalities, and it is important that as a business we will continue to comply with our existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics.
We have considered the specific risks our employees and customers face whilst in LockHouse. In order to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus for all, we have put in place the following procedures.
Which team members can work?
NHS guidance (‘Who’s at higher risk from coronavirus’) states that there are there are 2 levels of higher risk:
- High risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)—people should have a shielding letter and stay at home.
- Moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)—for example, any person with non-severe asthma, diabetes, neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, heart, lung, liver or kidney disease, a BMI above 40 or a condition which makes it more likely they will pick up infection, amongst other conditions. Guidance says if you’re at moderate risk from coronavirus it is very important you follow the advice on social distancing.
- If you’re in doubt about your risk level then you must contact your GP before you return to work.
Health and safety measures to reduce the risk of major illness, death, and the spreading of the virus
- All employees will complete a risk assessment to ascertain their safety in coming to work. Whenever possible, team members will work from home. However, given the nature of the business, this is not generally possible.
- Team members who are classed as extremely clinically vulnerable (i.e. those with a shielding letter) will be asked to work from home, as it is not safe for them to come to work.
- Team members who are classed as clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) should ensure they stick to strict social distancing and hygiene measures as described in this policy. They may also choose to be temporarily laid off, and return to work once the danger has passed.
- For those team members who live with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable: guidance states that they can come to work assuming they follow strict social distancing measures. They may also choose to be temporarily laid off and return to work once the danger has passed.
Staff coming into contact with the virus
- All staff must message their Duty Manager between 5pm and 6pm the day before their shift to confirm that they have no symptoms.
- Due to the dangerous nature of this virus for both staff and customers, it is essential that all team members share information about their contact with the virus. Please message Harry if you’ve been in contact with anyone who has had a positive test or has had Covid-19 symptoms and has not yet received a negative test. You must then immediately get a test yourself and send us the results of the test.
- Staff must not come to work if they have symptoms of coronavirus. Staff must immediately get a Covid-19 test and supply Harry with the certificate, whether it is positive or negative. Anecdotally, tests seem to come back in about 24 hrs.
- If a member of an employee’s household has symptoms of coronavirus, the employee must self-isolate and contact a member of the Senior Leadership Team. The employee can return to work when the appropriate negative tests have been carried out.
- In the event of a positive covid test from a member of staff, ALL team members must get a test. Any team member who has been in contact with the sick member of staff within 7 days cannot return to work until they have had a negative test. The business may have to temporarily close in such a circumstance.
- We will attempt to keep the same groups of people together on shift.
- We won’t be able to offer the same flexibility as normal; apologies for this, but the virus must take precedence.
- At least initially, we’ll use extra staff to make sure everything is smooth and that the cleaning is done properly.
- All team members must stick to the 2m social distancing advice, both between themselves and customers.
- Staff should ensure that customers stick to the 2m social distancing advice, and gently remind them if they are not doing this (unless they are part of the same group). If customers refuse, they will be asked to leave. Any customer who puts a team member at risk (and refuses to instantly stop when requested) will be asked to leave immediately—even if that means we have to call the porters/police.
- PPE will be available for team members (masks, aprons, and gloves) should they wish to use them. These must be worn in situations where social distancing is not possible (for example, if first aid was required). It is not expected that this would be a regular occurrence.
- No children under the age of 8 should enter the building, as they may not be able to follow the social distancing advice. Staff should not bend this rule. It will be made clear to customers at the time of booking on the website. The Duty Manager should ensure that all customers are over 8.
- Game briefings will be held with customers at a 2m distance from staff. Downstairs this means that the Games Master will be outside with the door open, separated from the customers with a rope barrier. A black curtain behind the Games Master is used to keep the light low. Upstairs the Games Master will brief from the office, with the customers held back from progressing up the stairs by a rope barrier. Once the briefing is finished, GMs will retreat behind the curtain before the customers open the rope barrier.
- Video briefing (thanks Ben!) is available if customers choose it.
- Masks are not obligatory in leisure venues where other safety measures are in place; these safety measures include 2m distances. Venues where masks are not obligatory include gyms and leisure centres, cinemas, visitor attractions such as museums, pubs, and libraries.
- Keep 2m distance from players who aren’t wearing masks.
- Players may be politely offered a mask on the way in, but this is not enforceable.
- If there end up being 2 groups of people in the store then we are obliged to ask them (politely and gently) to keep 2m from each other and from us.
Games Master desks
- The Egyptian GM station has been moved to the Market Stall. It is protected by a Perspex screen in front of it.
- The Secret Agent and Armageddon station are now separated by a Perspex screen down the middle. It also has a Perspex front.
- PPE will be available for team members to wear if they desire. This is mandatory if staff get closer than 1m to each other or customers, but this should only happen in extreme circumstances, such as a First Aid situation or an emergency repair that necessarily involves two people.
- PPE should never be left lying around, and should be stored on your personal desk or GM station. Write your initials on any PPE if it leaves your person.
- Team members are free to bring their own PPE. Feel free to personalise it and for it to be as bright and bold as you like. You must always wash or change your PPE between shifts.
- Please bag and seal PPE that you are disposing of.
- Players are encouraged to pay in full online before they come in.
- Contactless card payments work through the Perspex screen.
- There is a £45 maximum limit for contactless payments, so you may need to break payment up into multiple transactions.
- Sometimes the bank will reject multiple contactless payments from the same card. If this is the case, encourage players to use a different card.
- If you do need to pass the payment machine out of the Perspex booth, consider both your own shielding status and that of the customer.
- Wipe down the buttons with an alcohol wipe before and after passing the terminal to the customer.
- Only 2 people are allowed to work in the office area at any given time. They should be situated more than 2m from each other at all times.
- Food should not be shared between team members.
- Disposable plates and cutlery will be provided.
- No games are available for customers to play while waiting/finishing the session. This is to prevent different groups from handling the same objects, and also limit the amount of time customers spend in the foyer (essential to ensure social distancing is possible).
- Chairs and tables will be wiped down between every game (during reset).
- Soft furnishings will be removed while we wait to replace them with furnishings that can be wiped down.
- Only one team of customers should be in the foyer at any given time due to the changed session times. In case of emergency there will be a socially distanced area marked out on the floor where a second group can wait. Duty Managers should avoid overlap by making customers wait outside and by holding customers in the game at the end of their sessions.
- Walk-ins are allowed when there is no player group in the foyer.
- When there is a player group in the foyer, a rope is placed across the door.
- The rope is left open whenever there isn’t a player group in the foyer.
- Encourage walk-ins to use hand sanitiser on their way in.
- From 24th July walk-ins are told to mask up, and given a free disposable mask if they don’t have one.
- UV anti-bacterial lights are turned on in all chambers at the start of the reset. Set the timer so that the light will turn off before the scheduled start time of the next game.
- All doors are opened and the back door is left open during reset, even though this may spoil the surprise for a customer who happens to peek in. The office window is left open during Arm reset.
- Fans are used during reset to change the air out.
- All puzzles and areas with which players are in regular contact are cleaned with alcohol spray. Pay extra special attention to combi locks, which should be absolutely soaked with alcohol.
- The Duty Manager is responsible for making this happen, and will run a sign-off sheet for each reset.
- Each room has its own set of cleaning equipment, and GMs should keep to only one set throughout their shift.
Eating and taking breaks
- Team members are encouraged to eat outside at the back of the shop or on Parker’s Piece.
- You may eat at your GM station if there are no customers in the shop.
- You may not eat at anyone else’s personal desk or GM station.
- You must maintain social distancing while eating or taking breaks.
- All surfaces and objects in the foyer and toilets will be cleaned between sessions. The Duty Manager is responsible for ensuring that this happens.
- Staff must clean all shared items before and after use, for example the kettle, microphones, and computers.
- Cleaning products will be available in all areas of the building. This includes: cloths, sanitiser, mop and bucket, gloves, aprons. One set is available for each room to prevent cross-contamination.
- The front door and office window are kept open, aided by fans, except in the most extreme of weather conditions. Bring a jumper if you think you may be cold.
- Staff should stick to the same set of equipment throughout the day, including computers, GM stations, microphones and sets of cleaning kits.
Staff must wash their hands BEFORE AND AFTER:
- Arriving at work
- Using the bathroom
- Blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
- Eating, preparing, or handling food
- Handling shared equipment such as kettles, microwaves, etc.
- Cleaning surfaces, equipment, etc.
Use moisturiser on your hands at least once a day if frequent washing irritates your skin.
Customers must wash their hands BEFORE AND AFTER (this will be added to the health and safety briefing):
- Entering the room
- Using the bathroom
- Blowing their nose, sneezing, or coughing.
Common areas (stairs, corridors, toilets)
- Carpets are to be cleaned with steam mop weekly.
- Vinyl flooring is be cleaned with steam mop daily.
- Toilets, including all surfaces which are touched (door handles, taps, door-push area, flush-handles, toilet seats), are to be cleaned as part of reset by GMs. Sign-off sheet on door for this is to be checked by Duty Manager.
- Chests and lockers are provided in the foyer area.
- GMs are to instruct players to use the chests, but not to help them with it as this will break social distancing.
- Locks are to be provided on all chests.
- Locks are to be cleaned as part of reset if chest is used.
- A Covid Secure poster will be signed and placed in a prominent position.
- Signs are placed throughout facilities to remind guests of appropriate handwashing standards (soap, water, 20 seconds), or ABHS use.
- Customers are encouraged to tell staff verbally or send an email to report health, safety, or cleanliness concerns to our organisation.
- Back-of-house signage is to be produced to remind staff of PPE requirements and disposal, hand washing, cleaning procedures, and ventilation procedures.
Which customers can play?
- Customers are asked on entry if they have Covid-19 symptoms. If any customer does, then the entire group cannot play and they will be rescheduled. (Refunded if they refuse, but do try hard to get them to reschedule.)
- As per the .gov link below, only one bubble, containing a maximum of 2 households who are already in regular indoor contact, may play.
- Customers will confirm their group comprises no more than one 2-household bubble before they play. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy?fbclid=IwAR3urFAB9mmwHqb2icfoyDEbQqs6Z5ZLzKzoVDfm61sgcVROSFgy2Ku7TD4
Customer duties as guests
- Turning up within 5 minutes of their start times.
- Verbally confirming no Covid-19 symptoms on entry.
- Hand sanitising on entry.
- Hand washing before and after their game.
- Maintaining 2m distance and following GM instructions.
- Not bringing anyone who is outside of their 2-household bubble.
- Accepting that they may potentially have to wait outside before their game.
- Accepting that they may have to wait in their game room if there is another group in the foyer.
- Customers are advised to wear a mask, but this is not obligatory. Masks and gloves will be made available to customers for free.
Communication with customers
We need to make sure that customers know our procedures in advance, and also remind them on site through gentle polite conversation as well as signage.
We may not legally assume any knowledge, so their entire duties as guests must be communicated to them. However, please keep it brief and concise—they don’t need to know ‘why’, only what the rules are. The longer it takes, the less they will listen, so please practice in the mirror before taking it out into the wild.
*If the customers want to know the reason for the rules they will ask. Otherwise, don’t bother them with it.*
To that end, the Senior Leadership Team will produce:
- Quick summary advice of our policies on the website.
- Detailed advice of our policies on the website.
- Facebook posts on our Covid-19 policies.
- Email descriptions of their duties as guests, which the booker must agree to pass on to their team.
- Footers on all emails to direct them to the Covid-19 advice.
- Posters instore with summaries of advice.
- Posters instore with the full policy.
- A concise and short script for GMs to give to customers verbally, at distance.
Where do these policies come from?
The starting point for the following guidance has been informed by the government guidance ‘Working Safely During Covid-19 in Shops and Branches’, ‘The Visitor Economy’ section of the .gov.uk instructions, as well as ‘COVID-19 Risk Assessment Guidance for Escape Rooms’ (V1.1 16/06/2020), which is a document prepared by the UK Escape Room Owners forum.