With only hours to go before all hospitality and fitness venues have to close down for a month, it is unclear what support the businesses will have access to.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, assured yesterday that the payroll co-funding scheme would be adjusted but details of this have yet to be released.
The initiative - which sees the government pay 80% of an employee's wages, up to £1,600 per month - launched in the early stages of the pandemic to help keep thousands of islanders in jobs.
While it was initially due to end in August, Ministers announced in July it would be phased out gradually until March 2021.
Pictured: The Chief Minister announced the hospitality circuit breaker last night.
Currently, the scheme provides a 40% subsidy to businesses who can justify of a 20% detriment, with the maximum payment per employee capped at £800.
When asked by Express whether the Government will also be providing subsidies to cover unused stock bought in for the festive period, the Chief Minister was unable to provide much detail.
He simply said that phase three of the co-funding scheme would be adjusted to take into account of the issue of lost stock.
He also added that the Government would be allowing businesses to offer alcohol with takeaway meals, with the guidance due to be issued over the next couple of days.
“I believe the understanding from, for example, the idea of the takeaway side which we’ve not previously encouraged as far as I am aware was around being able to take alcohol away with food and I believe that’s being considered,” he explained. “That’s one that’s been learned in the UK and that will also assist them on their stock side."
“The fundamental position is that the co-funding payroll scheme is going to be there and we are ramping it up because of the measures we are putting in place particularly to support the hospitality side and that includes also the hotel’s support scheme which is separate,” Senator Le Fondré said.
It however transpired that the Government hadn’t given thought to wholesalers who deliver to local hospitality businesses and may also find themselves struggling at one of the busiest times of the year.
All the Chief Minister could say was that if a business has suffered significant losses, measures are in place. It is unclear what those measures are and what, if any, additional support is being considered.
Pictured: Daphne East, Commercial Director at Easenmyne, chairs the Retail and Supply Committee at the Chamber of Commerce.
The answer angered local wholesalers with Daphne East, Commercial Director at Easenmyne noting how it showed the sector had not been considered. "We are still part of hospitality," she said.
"It's obviously disappointing that hospitality is closed for the foreseeable future," she added. "We understand and support the decision as it is to protect people's lives but it would have been nice if it was not around Christmas and if it was sooner."
Ms East explained that while Easenmyne had reduced its orders in the expectation of a "different Christmas", they will be losing the stock ordered from seasonal lines which will not go out to local restaurants and hotels, even though they are trying to mitigate those.
"The co-funding scheme has been fantastic," she said. "If the additional scheme is increased then it will support businesses in paying wages but that does not cover the lost stock. Nobody has been in touch about this. Based on the reaction (from the Chief Minister), It has not been considered.
"We are not asking for everything but the impact of this is huge for wholesalers."
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There has to be a scheme to ensure that as many businesses survive Covid-19 as possible.
URGENT THINKING is needed NOW.