Over the coming weeks, we thought it would be interesting to hear from last year’s award winners after such a prevalent time for all businesses. Our Awards event took place on Friday 7th February 2020 when we were all very unaware what the next 18 months would bring. It was probably the last big night out for some!
Firstly, here is the response from Mike Birtle, The Grand Pier’s Social Media Specialist. The Grand Pier won our Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award 2020.
What impact did lockdown/Covid-19 have on your business?
During lockdown we were closed for the best part of 18 months and had to place most of our staff on furlough unfortunately.
How has Covid-19 changed the way you do your business?
We still happily welcome guests on to the pier the same way, however with lower numbers which we implemented after stage 4. We still advise face coverings inside, and all of our staff still wear face coverings. We also still have in operation all of our protective screens located on the pier. The pier advocates the track and trace system. We have found that this way of working has become our way of life.
Are you able to go back to the way things were before the lockdown?
With the easing of restrictions we have gradually begun reopening parts of the pier that were previously closed to the public, like our soft play area. We have now also been able to put on live events, which have been sorely missed by our visitors. You could say we are now in a better position to resemble how the pier used to operate although we do however act with most of our original social distancing policies still in place.
Does your business have any lasting effects of Covid-19?
Staff shortages in ours and other industries are prevalent and a lot of staff have had to self-isolate which also causes disruption in service. We have been lucky due the measures that we have put in place, which have meant that a lot of our staff have been protected from this.
What are your plans for the future?
We continue to invest in our attractions and in our quiet months we will be planning the itinerary for next year's events and attractions. We have some exciting plans in the works for our public areas but these will be announced in due course. There are many fantastic things to look forward to.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your March 2020 self?
Keep calm and all will be well!
Thank you, Mike for taking the time to answer our questions and let’s hope the last 18 months are well and truly behind us.
Our next Awards ceremony will not be ‘Awards’. The Weston Chamber have decided to celebrate business in Weston and will be held on October 15th at The Winter Gardens, restrictions allowing. Pencil it in your diary and watch this space for further details!