Jersey's Hospitality industry has renewed calls for urgent financial support to see the sector through the extended circuit breaker closures.Restaurants and bars are unlikely to re-open until March under government plans, yet so far the only financial support they have seen is payroll co-funding.Payroll co-funding was increased to 90% before Christmas, or a maximum of £1800 per employee, based on the level of detriment.Whilst the scheme has helped businesses retain staff, it still leaves a large gap which businesses have to fund themselves and with no income, and savings running out, that is becoming increasingly difficult.
Fiona Kerley is the Managing Director of the Ommaroo Hotel. She says that whilst payroll co-funding does help with the wage bill, it does not go far enough.
Whilst we're able to get the 90% wage co-funding which is phenomenal, and without it we would be in a very different position, but the reality is that it only covers about 60% in fact of our wage bill, by the time you take into account the employer social security contribution, so we've got to find that money somewhere.
Ms Kerley says at the moment the hotel is doing a "heat and eat service" and "a laundry service", but it is not bringing in enough money, she says the challenge is "finding the money to pay those bills that we still need to pay for".The bills are significant. Yet, it is only the accommodation sector, as well as events and attractions that have seen support for fixed costs so far. That, says the industry, is not enough.For Marcus Calvani, who runs the BeServed Group which includes the Lido and JB's, says it has become critical. He says they, like so many businesses, have spent the last year retaining staff and paying bills out of their own savings, which are now gone.
Mr Calvani says all he wants is to ‘ be able to go to bed at night thinking I know that there is a future for me in the hospitality industry in Jersey and that my businesses are safe.’
I have never been asking to make a profit since the beginning of lockdown, we've taken more than a 75% cut in our incomes personally, I'm asking for help to pay my kids' school fees, I'm struggling to pay mortgages, you know that's the reality of the situation we're in.
Being a pub, the Blue Note knows they are likely to be last to resume normal trading. Owner Tomasz Tura says paying fixed costs out of 'money we are not taking' is not sustainable.
I personally don't agree with the rules that create a difference between pubs that serve food and pubs that don't because if we are all made to follow the same rules, the length customers stay in, the distance, for everything else we can do exactly the same thing, so the fact that someone has a salad on the table doesn't make any difference.
Further financial support has been promised and is expected later this week.On 7 January it was announced that the economy would be re-opened in stages, according to the risk levels associated with each industry. At the moment different areas of the hospitality sector are classed as having different levels of risk, which means the return of hospitality is also likely to be staged.Cafes are classed as medium risk- the lowest of all hospitality, so are likely to re-open first. Restaurants and hotels are classed as medium to high risk, whilst pubs and drink only services are classed as high risk, which means they are likely to open last.