The biter pill of continued hospitality lockdown sweetened by Government Budget measures

One of the huts at Lympstone Manor

One of the huts at Lympstone Manor - Credit: Sauce Communications

Michael Caines on East Devon and beyond

Michael Caines

Michael Caines - Credit: Mark Ashee

I’d like to start this week’s column by congratulating everyone involved in the coronavirus vaccine roll out.
Whatever your political views, I think we should be proud of what the country has achieved and the hope it gives us all for the future.
When the Prime Minister announced the details of the roadmap out of lockdown last month, I was disappointed that the hospitality sector wasn’t allowed to start trading again sooner.
That bitter pill was sweetened by the chancellor's range of support measures but after such a long period of effectively being out of business,I have to admit a cloud came over my usual sunny disposition.
But once again, with the help of my team, I soon dusted myself off and rolled up my sleeves ready for the latest round of this relentless fight.
We began working out what we could do to generate income while abiding by the strict lockdown rules and found some early solutions.
My mood was further improved by the flurry of bookings we received as soon as the dates for lockdown being lifted were announced.
It is clear there is a massive pent up demand and that people are looking to holiday in the UK and, especially, the South West.
The shepherd’s huts at Lympstone Manor are already fully booked until the end of April with limited availability in May and rooms at the hotel are also being snapped up quicker and earlier than normal for the time of year from May 17 onwards
Our Cafe Patisserie Glacerie opens at the Sideshore in Exmouth on April 13, and Mickeys Beach Bar & Restaurant opens with a soft launch from May 17, at which point the hotel can also reopen.
I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that the date for the removal of Covid restrictions will be brought forward from the 21st June if the infection and death rates continue to fall.
However, if we have to wait, I am happy if that means we don’t have to go into lockdown for a fourth time.
After the pain we have endured during this past year, I’m really excited about the prospect of returning to some kind of normality.
All the signs are that we are in for a bumper summer and an extended season beyond that.
In fact there is quite a lot of confidence creeping back into our industry.
I’d like to make a plea though… and that is for people to, wherever possible, shop, stay and spend close to home.
Every penny pumped back into the local community will help to support jobs and maintain and create jobs.
In an area like ours that is crucially important.
There will be an awful lot of people worried about their futures as the end of the furlough scheme looms so let’s do all we can to help each other emerge from the darkness.
Personally, I am relieved and pleased that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s shining a lot brighter every day.

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