Owners of The Headland Hotel in Cornwall have started the difficult process of asking for voluntary redundancies as the full impact of coronavirus and the lack of clear guidance from the government takes its toll.
The hotel, which has been owned by John and Carolyn Armstrong for the past 42 years, is being forced to reduce staffing levels across the business from 190 to approximately 110; a loss of around 80 jobs.
Owner Carolyn said it was a ‘desperately sad’ situation and they were having to make ‘incredibly difficult decisions in order to ensure the business can survive’.
She said that from the third week of March to the end of June, lost revenue will be in the region of £2.5m and, with no guests and no income, the fixed costs paid out to the end of June have been close to £750,000, with this level of losses ‘simply not sustainable’.
“These are, without doubt, the most difficult and challenging times The Headland has experienced in its 123 year history,” said Carolyn.
“We would like to pay tribute to the professionalism and the dedication of the team members who have been helping to hold the fort and working so very hard since March to keep the hotel going.
“We had hoped, and expected, by this time we would have a clearer picture of when, and how, we would be able to begin welcoming guests back, given the potential reopen date could be as little as two and a half weeks away.
“However, the ongoing lack of clarity from the government has made the situation virtually impossible and left us with no other option.
“The Headland is an amazing hotel and we, as a family, remain totally committed to its future. The next few months will be extremely challenging, but we are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to start trading again, with full safety precautions in place.
“As soon as we can, we plan to open the soon to be completed, £10 million Aqua Club, which features six pools, a sun terrace and a new restaurant ‘The Deck’. This will safeguard 20 jobs for our current team.
“We remain optimistic that, when the industry is able to operate without restrictions, we will be in a position to start expanding the business once again and, as Cornwall’s leading five star hotel, continue to welcome guests for many years to come,” she added.
The Armstrongs are hoping to start re-opening their five star self-catering cottages at some point next month.
However, the hotel itself is not likely to open until a later date, and even then with significantly reduced occupancy if government restrictions are in place.
The lack of clarity from the government means that businesses do not know exactly when they can start to reopen, what parts of the business will be included or how many guests will be allowed on the premises at one time.