The Honesty Covid Statement
The Government’s decision to place Berkshire into Tier 3 and then into Tier 4 in the space of a few days took us by surprise. Although some of our sites are located in Tier 2 it has become increasingly difficult to run a hospitality business during this pandemic, going in and out of lockdown and being unable to plan ahead for any sustained period of time. I don’t envy the Government. I appreciate that these are tough decisions to make and the infection rates are certainly a large cause for concern. If there is any criticism from me as a business owner it is that the Government has failed to learn from previous mistakes, which has proved more costly for our business and others, I imagine, as a result. Regardless of the wrongs and rights reality has certainly bitten Honesty. We have taken the very difficult decision to temporarily close all of our sites, except the Honesty Cookery School, until there is some glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We fervently hope that this will be in early March but we cannot say at this stage.
We will be placing the majority of our workforce into furlough for the next few weeks/months. Since September most of our workforce have not been furloughed but I now see no alternative. We will use the time that we are closed industriously, training staff where we are able, developing new products and planning for a spring reopening, when we hope that we can come back with renewed vigour and hope for a brighter future. Whilst the Government insists that hospitality is being helped by furlough, which it undoubtedly is, this statement hides the fact that we are still having to pay our rents, and national insurance and pension contributions for all of our staff, so none of these choices are easy ones to make. I also take issue with the Government that some businesses will have to close permanently, because they are not viable. No hospitality business would be viable in this climate and there is undoubtedly a future for hospitality as people will always want a place to eat and meet outside of their homes. It pains me to close our doors as I know that many of our loyal customers will miss their coffee and our Honesty products. I know I will, but I see no alternative at the present time.
We will be back. We have lots of exciting plans for 2021. Thank you all for your custom and support during 2020. Have a happy Christmas and here is to a good new year.