Bosses at one of Perth’s biggest hotels are considering closing it permanently and making its entire workforce redundant, the Perthshire Advertiser can reveal.
The Best Western Queens Hotel in Leonard Street closed right after national lockdown measures were first announced back in March.
It has stayed shut ever since despite some restrictions on the hospitality industry being lifted in the interim.
Council to take "robust" approach to dirty camping as hotspot areas are revealed
Staff put on furlough following the closure had been hoping to return to their roles before the year was out but the Perth company now managing the 51-bedroom hotel has claimed the business is no longer viable and it has no option but to lay them off.
Employees received an email from Broxden Business Park-based 7 Hospitality Management on Friday saying their services may no longer be required and that the company was “truly sorry” for having to consider making them redundant.
They were told they will be placed on “a period of unpaid layoff” from November 1.
New community kitchen could help feed hundreds of people who cannot afford meals
But one employee who had been anxiously awaiting news of the hotel’s future told the Perthshire Advertiser yesterday they felt they had been “strung along” by the company over the last seven months, and questioned why it had taken them so long to decide what to do next.
The email to employees, seen by the Perthshire Advertiser, said: “COVID-19 is continuing to have a detrimental impact on the hotel, and the increased government restrictions and measures, along with the second wave of coronavirus, has meant that it is not viable for the hotel to reopen.
Abusive messages daubed on charity shop trying to help those with cancer
“The business is therefore proposing for a full permanent closure. This means that unfortunately, the business has no other option but to propose redundancies following a full closure of the hotel.
“I understand this is very difficult and unsettling news for all of you, during an already very difficult period and I am truly sorry under these circumstances.
"We will however be looking at ways to reduce the number of redundancies/avoid these and the impact of these throughout the consultation period where we will seek your involvement in this process.”
Study reveals how much college is worth to Perth and Kinross
A staff member who shared the email with the Perthshire Advertiser said yesterday: “I think they could have given us a bit more notice - they had to have seen this coming.
“If they couldn’t get enough bookings to open up in August and September then it was never going to happen in November or December.”
The Queens Hotel’s website has not been updated since its management first announced they were closing it temporarily shortly after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the country to go into a full lockdown back in March.
Richard Ellison, managing director of 7 Hospitality, yesterday said: “Unfortunately the extremely tough decision to move to a redundancy consultation process has been taken at the Queens Hotel, Perth, the outcome of which remains outstanding.
Hospital visiting banned as coronavirus infection rate rises by 70 per cent
“The combination of the government enforced closure in March, the continued impact on hospitality due to COVID-19 and entering into the quieter winter season means that at this stage, the business is not feasible to continue in the short term.
“The hotel investors have invested significant sums to maintain the hotel and to sustain the business and employment to date, however, due to the uncertainty around the impact of the pandemic on, the business is now in the difficult position to enter into the redundancy consultation process.
“7 Hospitality Management was engaged in autumn last year five months prior to the March lockdown to look at available options including the renovation and repositioning of the asset.
Scots mum opens up on heartache of losing beautiful baby daughter
"Unfortunately the hotel’s development plans are now currently on hold and will be reviewed at a later date.”