Covid Safety and Catering

Last updated 3rd November 2021

We have undertaken extensive work to ensure that all we provide aligns with government guidelines and this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Any changes will be communicated as we progress. Retreats will be based on appropriate social distancing and will be underpinned by all relevant health and safety measures including increased hygiene procedures. 

When staying with us, please do observe the processes that we have put in place to safeguard our visiting writers and staff. Everyone at Moniack Mhor wants you to have a fulfilled, nurturing and productive stay whilst using the facility. Moniack Mhor has conducted rigorous risk assessments ahead of opening for residencies and retreats (please do ask if you would like a copy) and we would now ask you to fully regard the abbreviated procedure for writers attending the centre based on our current Covid-secure model below to ensure that we can continue to offer this to writers in the future.

Our current Covid-secure model is as follows:

  • In advance of your stay, we ask that you complete our simple self-declaration form which we will email out the week before you are due to come to us. It asks you to consider whether you are OK to travel. Ideally, please email this form to us on the Sunday before your stay; otherwise please bring it with you and hand it to a member of the team.  
  • We would also ask you to do a lateral flow test at home 24 hours before you arrive with us.  These can be ordered to your home following this link – Our team will be tested on a twice weekly basis. We would appeal to you do the same by bringing a test with you to be taken mid-week.  
  • You can now fully access our communal spaces such as the living room and straw bale studio. We would ask that where you can, you maintain a 1-metre social distance. However, we also ask that you avoid socialising in the common areas as much as possible. Please try and find other ways of spending time socially such as taking walks together and consider using your bedroom for writing as much as possible.  
  • Please wear a mask when indoors and moving around, especially if 1-metre distancing is compromised.  Masks can be removed for eating and drinking.  
  • We will keep windows and doors open where possible to ensure that the buildings are ventilated. 
  • We will make use of our gazebo and outdoor spaces for dining, weather permitting. 
  • We have signage throughout the building that clearly shows our guidelines for how each space within the centre can be used. 
  • We have sanitation points around the building and handwashing guidelines in place when accessing the kitchen facility.  
  • We have adequate signage in the buildings to clearly demonstrate measures that are in place. 
  • Systems are in place to reduce contact points and we will be working with enhanced cleaning measures including regular cleaning of shared bathrooms.   
  • If you feel unwell or develop symptoms of Covid-19 whilst staying with us, we ask that you contact our Centre Manager, Angela or Centre Director, Rachel immediately. Angela and Rachel’s mobile phone numbers are on the wall in the kitchen – please make a note of these when you arrive. Angela and Rachel can guide you through the steps required from this point. This will involve taking a PCR test and leaving the course if you can do so safely in your own car. If this is not possible, we will provide space for you to isolate at the centre. However, if this involves an extended stay, we may need to ask you to cover extra costs.  
  • If another writer tests positive for Covid-19 during their stay, we reserve the right to cancel the course and, regrettably, ask you to leave to follow the current self-isolation regulations. In this circumstance, we, sadly cannot cover any extra travel costs incurred.  

At all times, our staff are here to guide you through any steps that need to be taken relating to Covid-19 and we will all do our very best to make Moniack Mhor your home whilst you are here, irrespective of the extra measures in place. 


Food at Moniack Mhor 

In general, the meals will work a little differently at different times of the day, so here is a brief overview of how the day will be structured:  


This is the only meal for which a member of staff will not be present. Breakfast is buffet style and will be laid out the night before. Tea and coffee are available as is a designated fridge containing milk and other perishable items; again, we ask you to sanitise your hands before and after handling these facilities. 


For those that find the stretch until lunch a little too far, snacks will be available between 10 and 11 in the morning from the kitchen. It will be laid out by our staff, and you are welcome to help yourself.  


A buffet lunch and drinks will be ready at around 1pm in the kitchen. Please wear a mask and sanitise your hands before serving yourselves. Please note that social distancing at mealtimes is no longer a Scottish Government regulation, however, depending on the size of your course or retreat we ask that you take a seat 1m away from your fellow writers when eating.

Afternoon Tea 

Much like elevenses, snacks will be laid out by a member of staff between 3 and 4 for anyone who needs a little something extra between lunch and dinner. 


Dinner is a 2-course meal, and currently the first dinner of the week upon your arrival on the Monday evening is provided by the staff at 7pm. At the end of October this year, we moved back to our original model of participant-led mealtimes, where you are asked to take a role in our food provision by joining one cooking team for the Tuesday – Friday evening meals. Once you have taken a turn of cooking and tidying up once during the week, the rest of the time is your own. 

We will ask you to allocate yourself to one of these evenings when you arrive, as your support makes it much easier for us to continue to deliver our food infrastructure.  

Being part of the cooking team involves joining our daytime chef at 4pm for a walk through and to be shown ingredients. Some of the preparation may be done ahead of time for you, for instance, pudding. The cooking team will also be responsible for clearing up and doing the dishes.  

Please do let us know if you have any questions in advance of your stay relating to these chores.  


Tea and Coffee Facilities

Facilities to make tea and coffee will of course be available throughout the day; we simply ask that you sanitise hands before and after using the shared equipment – handwashing facilities and pump-action sanitiser will be placed near to any points where needed. As with several communal areas within the building, it is also required you wear a mask within the kitchen (NB, due to separate regulations concerning health and safety, this doesn’t apply to the chef preparing the meals); disposable masks will be available should you require one. 


Staff will brief you fully on arrangements for meals and other measures that are in place. You are welcome to join in the company of your fellow writers for meals; however, you are also welcome to have your meals in your room. Please just tell us a day in advance if you would like this option. You are also welcome to take your meals outside.  

You will also not be required to do any washing up at mealtimes unless part of the ‘tidy up team’ for the evening; but please take care of any breakfast dishes, cups and glasses used outwith structured mealtimes by stacking them in the trays by the dishwasher.  

We will be here to support you as normal and you can interact with us, as with your fellow writers, in line with social distancing guidelines.  


We hope with this new, short-term model you will enjoy the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in your writing free from domestic distractions.  

Everyone on our team very much looks forward to welcoming you back and chatting about writing once again!  

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