Headland hotel says ‘no other option' but to explore voluntary redundancies

19 June 2020 by
Headland hotel says ‘no other option' but to explore voluntary redundancies

The owners of Cornwall's Headland hotel have issued an urgent plea for the government to review its reopening guidelines for the hospitality industry, saying the lack of clarity has left them with "no other option" but to explore voluntary redundancies.

John and Carolyn Armstrong, who have owned the five-AA-star, 95-bedroom hotel for 42 years, are hoping to start reopening their self-catering cottages next month.

However, the hotel itself is not likely to open until a later date, and with significantly reduced occupancy if government restrictions remain in place.

As a result, they have started the process of asking for voluntary redundancies. In total they are being forced to reduce staffing levels across the business from 190 to approximately 110; a loss of around 80 jobs.

Despite the government announcing an 'ambition' to open areas of hospitality from 4 July, they like many business owners, still do not know when they can start to reopen, what parts of the business will be included, or how many guests they will be allowed to accommodate, even though the date is just 15 days away.

They estimate that from the third week of March to the end of June they will have lost revenue in the region of £2.5m, and despite having no income will have had to pay out fixed costs of close to £750,000.

Carolyn said: "This level of losses is simply not sustainable, and we are having to make some incredibly difficult decisions in order to ensure the business can survive. It goes without saying this is a desperately sad situation and one we have done everything possible to try and avoid. However, the ongoing lack of clarity from the government has made the situation virtually impossible and left us with no other option."

She added that while the next few months will be "extremely challenging", the family remains "totally committed" to the business's future and she is optimistic that, when the industry is able to operate without restrictions, it will be in a position to continue expanding.

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