COVID-19 Reopening: FAQs
14 October 2020
Welcome back to Watford Palace Theatre! We are delighted to reopen our beautiful Edwardian auditorium and invite you to join us for quality entertainment inside our Covid-secure venue.
This is how we are keeping staff and audiences safe and secure in our venue.
We have been granted the use of Society Of London Theatre & UK Theatre's 'See It Safely' mark. The mark certifies that we are complying with the latest Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, to ensure the safety of our staff and audiences.
You can find out more about the measures theatres have been putting in place ready for your visit, and what you will need to know beforehand, here: https://officiallondontheatre.com/see-it-safely/.
The list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers below detail the specific steps we have taken to keep you and our staff safe.
If you cannot find the answer you require by scrolling through the list of questions below, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to reply as quickly as possible.
What procedures have been implemented to keep me safe during my visit?
The safety of our guests and staff is paramount to our reopening measures.
Before each shift, every member of staff working in the venue will be assessing their general health and isolating at home should they develop any Coronavirus symptoms, or quarantining if they’ve been advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace. Members of our Front of House team working in public areas of the venue will be wearing face coverings and protective gloves during their shifts.
Upon booking you will be allocated an arrival time which will be printed on your tickets. We ask guests to adhere to these arrival times to help us minimise the flow of traffic inside the building. Please wear a face covering (unless exempt) upon arrival at the theatre, where you will be asked to wait outside the main entrance in the queue on the left or right. Before entering the theatre, you will be asked to submit to a temperature check, and anyone exhibiting a temperature of 37.8C or above may be refused entry. Your tickets will also be scanned and checked when your full party has arrived before you enter the theatre. Physical tickets will not be printed so you will be asked to present your e-tickets via mobile device or by quoting your full name and address or order number to help staff locate your booking.
Once you have entered the building, please scan the Test and Trace QR code which can be found on posters displayed around the venue, using the NHS app. To download the app, please visit: https://www.covid19.nhs.uk/.
Throughout the venue, hand sanitisation stations and perspex screens have been installed for your safety. You will also find signage and floor markings detailing how to safely navigate your way around the venue whilst maintaining a 2-metre distance from others outside of your household or support bubble.
Our toilet facilities will be cleaned regularly throughout the day using antiviral cleaning products.
The café will be temporarily closed until further notice, and our bar will be open to facilitate pre-booked food and drink orders only.
Seating inside the auditorium adheres to government guidance, which means that each block of seats has been created to allow for a 1-metre distance between parties. Seating consists of separate blocks of different sizes, up to a maximum of 6 seats per party. You will notice when booking your tickets online that you must select all the seats within a particular section to book. Please do not sit with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.
The front row of the stalls is unavailable for purchase, creating distance between the stage and audience that ensures both your safety and that of our performers.
The auditorium will be deep cleaned between performances and on an increased basis, with contact surfaces being cleaned regularly using antiviral cleaning products.
Will I have to wear a face covering?
We ask that all guests wear a face covering at all times whilst inside the venue, unless exempt for health reasons, or under the age of 11. You may remove your face covering temporarily whilst seated in the auditorium, for the purposes of consuming food and drink.
Members of staff will also be wearing face coverings and protective gloves during their shifts.
How many people will be in the venue at any one time?
For each show we are selling only one third of our usual pantomime capacity, to allow for social distancing. Staffing levels have been constructed to protect everyone within public areas of the venue to a degree that also enables us to facilitate your needs.
How can I purchase tickets?
Tickets can be purchased easily and safely up to 2 hours prior to the start of each performance. Visit www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk to see our full performance schedule and book. Alternatively, you can telephone our Box Office to book tickets on 01923 225671, between the hours of 11am – 4pm, Monday to Friday from 2nd November.
We are currently accepting card payments only.
Is the Box Office open?
The Box Office will be open for telephone and email communications between the hours of 11am – 4pm Monday to Friday from 2nd November. You may contact the Box Office on 01923 225671 or email@example.com.
We are currently unable to accommodate in-person bookings at the theatre.
How many tickets can I purchase for each show?
You may purchase a maximum of 6 tickets per performance.
Why am I prompted to enter my telephone number upon booking? Don’t you have this on my account? What will you do with this information?
To comply with NHS Test and Trace guidelines, we ask you to confirm your contact telephone number upon booking to ensure we have the most recent information for you.
If requested, your contact telephone will be provided to NHS Test and Trace. We will also use this in accordance with your account preferences, for example to contact you in the event of a performance being cancelled.
I don’t want to purchase all the seats in one block, what can I do?
To keep you and other guests safe, we have enforced Strict Bubble Seating within our venue, which has no centre aisle. We regret therefore that you must select all the seats within a particular bubble for your booking. If the number of seats you require are not available, please try selecting another performance date. Alternatively, our Box Office will be open between the hours of 11am – 4pm Monday to Friday from 2nd November for telephone enquiries and can be contacted on 01923 225671.
I want to sit with someone who is outside of my household, is this allowed?
We can only allow audience members to sit with people in their household, or support bubble.
Will there be provisions for people in wheelchairs?
Yes, each performance has a socially distanced provision in the stalls for those in wheelchairs. We are offering free companion tickets as usual, provided they are within the same household or support bubble.
If you wish to take advantage of a wheelchair and companion space, please contact the Box office on 01923 225671 between the hours of 11am – 4pm Monday to Friday from 2nd November.
Are there any extra access provisions?
There is access to all levels of the theatre via the lift. At this time, we ask guests only to use the lift with members of their household or support bubble.
Easily accessible toilets can be found on the ground and second floors.
Your guide or hearing dog is welcome to stay with you. If you wish to bring your assistance dog, please contact the Box office on 01923 225671 between the hours of 11am – 4pm Monday to Friday from 2nd November.
Can I use a hearing device?
An infra-red sound amplification system operates in certain areas of the auditorium. Headsets are available for each performance and should be booked in advance of your visit by contacting the Box office on 01923 225671 between the hours of 11am – 4pm Monday to Friday from 2nd November.
Your headset will be ready for use when you arrive to take your seats for the performance.
Following each use, our headsets will be quarantined for 24 hours, along with being sanitised before and after each show.
Can I order food and drinks?
We'll contact you prior to your visit with us to take your food and/or beverage order.
Any pre-ordered food and/or drinks will be ready for you when you arrive to take your seats.
At this time, our café will remain closed and the bar will be open to facilitate pre-booked requests only.
Can I purchase merchandise and a programme?
We'll contact you prior to your visit with us to take any merchandise order you wish to make. The pre-ordered items will be ready for you when you arrive to take your seats.
Unfortunately, programmes will not be available for our Christmas season.
How will I receive my tickets?
Once purchased, your tickets will be emailed to you as e-tickets which you can present on your mobile device for admittance into the auditorium. If you do not have a mobile device, please quote either your full name and address or order number when you arrive at the venue and theatre staff will be able to locate your booking.
What do the extra instructions printed on my tickets mean?
On your e-ticket you will find an instruction ‘Enter LEFT/RIGHT door XX minutes BEFORE start of performance’. This is your timed entry slot, which we have allocated to you based on where you are seated in the auditorium. Please endeavour to arrive at the theatre promptly for your entry slot to help us minimise queuing in the venue and to assist staff in the smooth and safe seating of all guests.
Will latecomers be admitted?
We understand that there will occasionally be circumstances against your control which mean that you are unable to arrive at the theatre for the allocated entry slot printed on your tickets. If you are delayed, it is likely that Front of House staff can accommodate your entrance into the auditorium with the next appropriate group.
In the interests of public safety, once a performance has started, we will be unable to admit latecomers into the auditorium.
Will there be an interval?
Our Christmas season has been curated to safely minimise the flow of traffic around the venue, including to and from the toilets. With your comfort and safety in mind, our productions will run for approximately 60 minutes, and therefore there will be no intervals during any of our Christmas performances.
Can I use the toilet?
Yes! There will be some changes to our toilets since your last visit with us, such as certain cubicles or urinals taken out of use to allow for social distancing methods and there is a limit on the number of people permitted access to the toilets at any one time. Queues will be managed by our Front of House team. Hand dryers will be temporarily out of use, with paper towels offered instead to eliminate the circulation of water droplets in the air.
Can you store a large bag or coat for me during my visit?
We are temporarily discontinuing our cloakroom services so would appreciate it if guests do not bring large items (i.e. items which are too large to take into the auditorium) as there is no storage facility available.
I am seeing multiple shows in the same day. Can I remain in the venue?
For your safety, and to allow our staff to thoroughly clean all public areas of the theatre, we are asking our guests to please vacate the building after the performance and when instructed to do so, and re-enter at the allotted time for the following show.
I am vulnerable and have been shielding – should I come to the theatre?
We recommend anyone who has been shielding or feels vulnerable does not attend a performance unless they feel totally confident that it will not put their health at risk. This applies to audiences, and staff.
What should I do if I start feeling ill at the theatre?
If you start experiencing symptoms at a performance, please go home immediately and follow self-isolation guidance.
If I develop Coronavirus symptoms after attending the venue, who should I notify?
If you develop Coronavirus symptoms, you should self-isolate and get tested as quickly as possible. If you test positive, NHS Test and Trace will ask you where you have been recently and who you have seen. They will then get in touch with anyone you may have been in close contact with to advise them on next steps.
Will I be contacted if someone at the venue develops Coronavirus?
If one of your fellow audience members tests positive for Coronavirus, you may receive a call from NHS Test and Trace asking you to get tested or self-isolate. We would ask that you follow any advice they may give you.
Can I get a refund if I have been asked to isolate?
If you or a member of your household has been asked to isolate due to Coronavirus symptoms, please do not attend the theatre. We have updated our Booking Conditions so that you may now contact the Box Office to request a refund or exchange of tickets for this reason.
In the event of theatre closure due to Government imposed restrictions, we will contact all ticket holders directly to offer a refund or exchange for any bookings during the period of closure.