Edinburgh Dome's 'Theatre of Covid Awareness' inspires confidence - Liam Rudden
THE key is to get past Stephen on the door. He is the keeper of the temperature scanner, which, when aimed at your forehead, dictates whether or not you are allowed to enter The Dome.
Yes, the world famous George Street institution is back in business and ensuring that in a world where everything has changed, it feels as if very little has, despite a whole range of Covid safe precautions that are now in place. Those protocols start before you arrive - you need to book a table in advance, whether dinning or just heading out for a drink.
It goes without saying that if you feel unwell on the day on your visit, stay at home but don’t forget to cancel your booking to allow someone else to benefit. With social distancing forcing bars and restaurants to operate at much reduced capacity, every booking is vital to their survival.
So many bar owners and restaurateurs have highlighted how the number of no shows they experience have put their businesses at risk since reopening.
An empty table could make the difference between your favourite bar surviving the current, ever evolving situation.
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Having followed these simple rules and got past Stephen’s scanner, the pressure was off (unlike your mask which must remain in place until you sit down at your table) when I visited.
The beauty of The Dome is its scale and grandeur. Every angle is a photograph just waiting to be taken and settling at a table with the best views across the Grill Room - perfect for people watching - everything was exactly as I remembered it but for the fact that staff sported smart face coverings.
On closer inspection, it was also clear that many tables had been removed to allow the required spacing between those that remained making the atmosphere nicely relaxed. Due to the size of the venue, however, the buzz that has always been a huge part of any visit remains - although we still have a month or so to go until the Christmas decorations go up and we get to see The Dome in all its sparkly glory. Stepping into the main room, once a Banking Hall, it is easy to leave the stresses of the day outside for a couple of hours.
That doesn’t mean you forget that we are still coming to terms with a new normal, quite the opposite, staff regularly wipe down surfaces and sanitise rest rooms, drinks are served to your table on a tray from which you help yourself and there’s sanitiser on each table and at stations around the floor.
It’s what I’ve taken to calling the ‘Theatre of Covid Awareness’ - allowing customers to see the precautions in action and making them part of the experience.
Don’t know about you, but seeing a venue taking Covid awareness seriously gives me confidence to return.
At The Dome, that’s exactly what they've done. Food’s good too.
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