Update for COVID-19
Following the government's announcement of Northumberland being in Tier 3 of lockdown, the Observatory will be remain closed - we expect a review in December so we are currently cancelling events up to and including 17th December. If you have tickets for this period, you will be contacted by the team.
Bookings for the future remain open and we are maintaining our reduced capacity - we re-opened in August 2020 with 16, reduced from our usual event numbers of 41. Following a review of feedback and staff consultation, we increased that to 20 for September and October 2020 and 24 currently; this is under constant review, along with whether we are open or closed, depending on government guidance in place at any given time.
In light of the ongoing uncertainty around regional and national lockdowns, we have amended our usual terms and conditions:
- We have reduced our notice period from 14 days to seven days: this means that, if your plans change, you can request a transfer voucher to the value of your tickets, less an administration fee of £5, if the event is more than seven days away. If your booking is within seven days, we can attempt to resell the tickets and issue you with a transfer voucher if the tickets sell.
- Earlier this year, we extended transfer vouchers from 6 month period to a 12 month period. This is still in place - you do not have to attend an event within the 12 months of the voucher, you just have to book tickets before the voucher expires.
- Our standard terms and conditions say that we will only issue refunds if we cancel the event - this still stands except in certain, very specific, circumstances where it would be illegal for a guest to attend an event (for example, being directed to self-isolate by a public health official). Please make sure you understand these circumstances before booking.
Please be patient with our team as they try and accommodate the changing requirements of regulations and implications for the team and our guests. We very much appreciate the patience and understanding shown by our guests and would remind everyone that abusive behaviour will not be tolerated - we recognise that it is a very trying time for everyone and the team is working hard to ensure that our inspirational events are available to as many people as possible.
We have put in place several measures to safeguard the health of our team and our visitors as far as we can. We will ask all visitors to follow this guidance during your visit.
- When you arrive at the Observatory, please wait inside your car until a member of staff escorts you to the building.
- You will be split into two groups – one group will start in the main building and one will start in the Gillian Dickinson Astro-Imaging Academy. Please remain in these groups for the duration of the event. You will be guided through the Observatory to minimise contact.
- If you are bringing children, you are responsible for ensuring they remain at a safe distance from other people.
- You will see boxed areas on the floors of some rooms – this is to help you judge separation distance.
- Please ensure you wear a face covering of some kind and take care to maintain an appropriate distance from other people wherever possible.
- Hand sanitiser stations are available throughout the site – please ensure you use these whenever you switch locations.
- As in shops, please do not handle the merchandise – a member of staff will be happy to assist you.
- Card payments would be preferred over cash.
- Once the event is finished, staff will escort you back to your cars in individual groups.
- As with all infectious diseases, please do not attend if you have any symptoms.
- We retain contact details for managing customer orders - please note at this time that we may be asked to participate in NHS track and trace efforts.
Please follow the guidance of the team at all times. In line with our existing terms and conditions, staff have the right to ask visitors to leave if they are not complying with guidance. We want all events at the Observatory to be inspirational and safe for everyone.
Additional measures we have put in place are:
- All staff will have their temperature checked on arrival.
- One member of staff will be in charge of additional cleaning measures throughout the event – door handles, handrails, toilets will be cleaned every 30 minutes.
- Telescope eyepieces and other equipment will be sanitised between guest use.
- A screen has been fitted to the counter in the kitchen area.
- Staff will sanitise hands between each till transaction, including preparing hot drinks and wear a face mask while doing so.
- Surfaces and chairs will be sanitised between each event.
- The staff room will be sanitised once a day.
- All waste will be removed offsite every day
- All fabric items (moon chairs, cushions and blankets) will be stored and not be used.
- Catherine Johns, CEO