Welsh catering equipment dealers are trying to analyse the impact to their businesses following the announcement of a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown in the country.
Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford yesterday detailed that the shutdown will begin this Friday, 23 October, at 6pm until Monday 9 November, and will see all hospitality venues forced to close during this period.
Following this latest development, many regional distributors Catering Insight spoke to questioned whether the lockdown was necessary and the paucity of government support available to them.
One said: “When hospitality closes we don’t trade.
“There is little we can do to adapt to the firebreak. We are a hands-on reactive company and our turnover is 95% from the hospitality industry. Unfortunately we won’t be able to take advantage of the additional funding available as we are supply chain and the Welsh Government doesn’t seem to have made allowances for this in the new lockdown.”
The distributor said of its customers: “There is little that will be required for end users as they will be predominantly shut, but we will continue to have engineers ready to attend when and where we can for clients on click and collect platforms.
“The Welsh Government and Government in general seem to think that it is customer facing business that are the only ones that have financial issues, but it is the whole supply chain that takes a hit.”
At one of the largest Welsh dealers, Newport-based Shine Catering Systems, MD Julian Shine reported: “We have been in a state of local lockdown for a few weeks now, so the national implementation will not make a great deal of difference to our services or the way that we provide them.
“Since 2019 we have been operating in the cloud, so our IT systems are tried and tested, as are our Covid management procedures. Essential travel for work is still permitted, so the main thing to suffer will be the social life!”
On how Shine’s local operator customers are coping, he added: “I know, as with all other areas of the UK, their opinion is generally that the vulnerable have a duty to shield themselves and the rest should get on with life, whilst still complying with social distancing.
“We will get on with providing continuity of service to assist operators to deliver whatever level of service they are economically able to throughout a transition back to normal trading, whenever that may be.
“Being construction-focused we have seen how difficult this is for all sectors and would remind the social media crusaders that hospitality operators are conducting as close to their normal service as possible, often with a skeleton staff. It’s time to cut them some slack and to abide by the social distancing measures they have implemented, not broadcast every shortfall.”