One of the most difficult aspects of operating our business during this period is that our operations are subject to additional regulations that change without very little notice and time to plan. Until Tuesday, September 29th, mandated guidelines restricted reservations to no more than 6 people per gathering. As of Tuesday the 29th, the revised guidelines for restaurants now permit the seating of up to 10 people at a table. While we are thrilled by the increase as it may be helpful to many restaurants, we have decided to allow only a few reservations for up to 8 people while maintaining the restriction to our current limit of 6 people per table for the majority of our seating.
The reason for our decision to keep reservations below the current maximum reservation allowed by the State is that we believe our current operations present a safer venue for our employees and customers. When guidelines were established requiring the spacing of 6 feet between tables, we spaced our tables at a much greater distance with most tables being 16 feet apart. We continue to stand by our goal to be the safest environment we can present.
The previous maximum seating capacity of 6 people has been working well for us since all our picnic tables were designed to seat a maximum of 6 people. Unlike most restaurants that move 20 lb. tables around to accommodate larger reservations, our picnic tables are spaced 16 feet apart and weight about 150 lbs. We are also challenged by an uneven terrain so that many of our tables are leveled by modifying the ground or adding blocks to make them level. For our operation, It is not practical or safe for us to ask our staff to relocate a table, level it, and then shuffle the table back to its previous location for the next reservation. Since we do have 6 tables that are designed for 8 people, we will open these tables for reservations of 6 to 8 people but we are going to retain our policy of accommodating reservations for 8 or fewer people.
While we will not allow more than six people at a table of six we will allow an exception to this policy for children under the age of 1 based on our belief that they will either be in a stroller or in the arms of an adult. However, children above the age of 1 will be treated as a person at the table and will be counted in determining the capacity allowed to be seated. We will not consider expanding this policy to children over the age of 1.
We have received incredible support from many about how we are operating and how much they are enjoying the less frantic environment of the fall season. Our current operations with smaller size gatherings have preserved the ambiance of the grounds which we believe is very important to our visitors and to our future success. In the past, we have had larger gatherings negatively impact the enjoyment of our property so we will be operating now and in the future in a manner that is focused on preserving the ambiance of a vineyard setting. Today, we believe that smaller gatherings are safer and conducive to an enjoyable day.
We will continue our policy of not allowing people to book multiple tables as movement from table to table increases the possibility of transmission when people move past other tables. We believe that this is the most important aspect for us to enforce because reducing transmission is the objective of all guidelines. If we see a person moving from one table to another, service to both tables will be terminated immediately. Items ordered will be packed and prepared to go for off-site consumption and everyone at both tables will be asked to leave. Despite expressions of responsibility and a commitment to social distancing, people move from table to table once a glass of wine is consumed. Just recently, a study has shown that restaurants are one of the highest sources of virus spread and it is being caused by restaurants that do not follow the rules. We are 100% committed to following the rules and it is our decision not to participate in any gatherings and to not allow multiple reservations.
Difficult times make difficult decisions, but we are comfortable running our business as we feel is best for the safety of our employees and in a manner that is contributing to the effort to stop the spread of the virus. While we do not expect everyone to agree with our decision, we do ask that you respect our decision by not attempting to circumvent the rules that we intend to enforce.
The rules are applied equally to everyone and it is only with the cooperation of everyone that our country will prevent the spread. Should you make multiple reservations, we will cancel all reservations that we determine to pose a risk to our staff and customers. Your deposit will not be refunded.