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View from the business frontline: Cooper & Co

View from the business frontline: Cooper & Co

Monday 27 April 2020

View from the business frontline: Cooper & Co


By the end of this week, Jersey's government has promised to publish their plan for easing lockdown, and getting businesses working again.

This week, Express will be running a series of articles on how Jersey's 'Recovery Strategy' might work.

First up is David Warr, owner of Cooper & Co, a business which has been right in the thick of the virus lockdown...

"My business is currently at the economic sharp-end of the covid-19 pandemic.

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Pictured: David Warr, whose businesses will have to implement the lockdown recovery plan.

We have three cafes, all of which are currently shut, a shop that has moved online and a wholesale operation that has also to all intents and purposes shut down. We’re currently operating at 10% of our usual turnover which I’m aware is 10% more than a number of my business colleagues.

We still have 21 members of staff on our books, and have only been able to keep them on because of the government’s co-funding scheme

Like many of my business colleagues, we’re itching to start trading again, but are aware that it won’t be simply a case throwing open the doors and welcoming everyone back. There will have to be a transitioning period, a series of measured relaxations of the current rules so that we aren’t forced back to lockdown. 

Therein lies our dilemma. How do we viably trade in a café where under social distancing rules we need to remove half the seating? How does a hair salon even begin to trade under these conditions?  

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Pictured: Which businesses should be allowed to open next?

The reality is that it is less costly for us to remain closed than to trade with half-empty cafes. That will be the case for all food service outlets, hotels, airlines etc. 

So we move on to the next reality.

If we open and are only able to operate at half-capacity, we will inevitably need to shed staff - the very staff our government rightly wants us to keep employed. That means financial assistance from government cannot realistically stop at simply co-funding payroll through this transition period.

The alternative for business is death by a thousand cuts as we haemorrhage money and end up in a worse position than we are now. 

Pictured: Opening, but trading at half-capacity, could actually be damaging for Cooper & Co.

There are, of course, many businesses who have not experienced any of the above scenario and have even thrived during the shutdown.

That means any Government intervention needs to be targeted with laser beam accuracy at those perfectly viable businesses and hardworking entrepreneurs whose only mistake was to be in an industry shut down by covid-19."

Tomorrow: Eliot Lincoln

READ MORE from businesses on covid-19...

Andrew Hosegood: Down here in the bay...

James Filleul:  Share the plan for lockdown end

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