Saundersfoot Chamber for Tourism Business Forum - Monday 12th October 2020
SCT Chair and Forum Chair: Dilys Hackett
Gill Balding, Kim Denning, Lesley Bartholomew, Michael Davies, Andrew Evans, Lindsey Evans, Dean Ludlow, Steve Harbour Lights, Phil Baker, PCSO Graham Kendall, Phil Baker, Eleanor Jones, Michael Slade, Cllr. Neil Sefton, Holly Thompson.
* We face an uncertain time with more positive cases for Covid surfacing in our area.
* We want to reiterate why SCT are holding these forums. We want everyone to feel they are not going through this on their own. We want to help with support and access to facts and information. As business owners we are so used to planning ahead and due to all the uncertainty, this is causing decision making extremely difficult.
* Everyday life and business life is continuously changing, and we are all having to take each day at a time.
* By coming together and communicating is allowing SCT to determine what help is needed. As a forum we want to offer support, factual and relevant information whilst getting an understanding on how everyone is feeling and coping throughout this time.
* This crisis is understandably having a great impact on mental health. Therefore, SCT are wondering if it would be useful for a health advisor, doctor or mental health advisor to attend a business forum and advise/direct to support for employers and employees.
* Gill Balding: Reopened Stoney Bridge B&B in August and have been very busy since. Guests have been understanding and sticking to rules and regulations. Some were not too keen on being in the village when it was really busy. Gill and Steve were helping advise guests by guiding them to book tables etc. They were flat out until the end of September and were going to carry on trading until the end of October however, have had some cancellations since due to local lockdown restrictions. It has gone a lot quieter now after very busy couple of months. Do not know how that is impacting on the village with a lot less footfall.
* Kim Denning: Hean Castle are still very steady, some people have cancelled due to being in restricted areas however, cancellations are booking back up really quickly. Car park is quieter. Many caravan owners have left but are looking to return to close up for the end of season. New guidelines have been released to say they can travel from lockdown areas to close down their caravans for winter. It is still steady with Christmas, half term etc looking busy and good.
* Dean Ludlow: Little & large Lite Bites: Steady still with less people and footfall in the village however, still pretty much the same and busy every weekend.
* Eleanor Shrublands Caravan Park: 3/16 of owners can still visit the rest are on lockdown in restricted areas. Anyone that can visit are doing their best to get here although if things get sticker the customers will start to close up soon ready for winter. People are still very interested in coming to Saundersfoot and having a caravan and accommodation in the area with a lot of enquiries, so very positive.
* Lindsey Evans: St. Brides Spa Hotel: A lot of cancellations from areas in lockdown, half term looks good, but things are tailing off now. Hoping something comes into place for end of October in terms of furlough and staff job support. Spa and restaurant now opened to non-residence due to being quitter in the hotel with guests. They are concerned about what November is going to bring and how bad it is going to be over the next few months.
* Michael Davies: Saundersfoot Harbour: People ringing to come from lockdown areas to try and get their boats out for winter. They have lost 3 full time members of staff but are working to get boats out and ready for winter for customers who cannot come down to move their boats out due to shielding or lockdown restrictions. The car park is slowing down more than usual for October. They had issues with the design on the coal building, but this is now resolved and Michael is trying to encourage their contractors to get on with the building work for it to be ready for the new year.
* Open question on people’s opinions on encouraging visitors into Saundersfoot at the moment and what marketing strategies are people using within their own business:
o Dean: they have not gone out of their way to advertise Little and Large and are partly relaying on caravan sites and accommodation etc on sending customers their way. They are on the fence with regards to actively promoting visitors to the area.
o Kim Denning: Agrees it is a very difficult one. On one hand we want to keep everyone in business and keep trade going through winter but on the other hand you want to keep everyone and residents as safe as possible. However, during this time of year, we would not have the large crowds we have in summer, so it is about trying to get the right balance and a happy medium. Big Bang would attract the same amount of people as we see in summer. If members of the public stuck to the rules, then you would say promote it as it is a very long winter for businesses normally epically this year. On the fence also and do not want any promotion to be seen in a negative way to members of the public. Everyone has gone to such extreme lengths to make it safe and that goes partly to waste due to it being so quite in the winter. To get people into the smaller villages in winter we rely on promotions.
o Phil Baker: County Council and senior officers have asked as cabinet to see what they think, they are still promoting that Pembrokeshire is open as long as everyone is sensible and keeps their distance, hand sanitise, wear masks and follow the rules. This is all we can be doing. People still can come from lockdown areas in England if there is less than 6 in their group. All we can do is keep doing what we can. Promote ourselves sensibly and relatively locally.
o Promote shop local, Saundersfoot Connect are promoting this locally through their social media page. Visit Saundersfoot social media will promote all the safety measures we have put in place as businesses and as a village. More people are exploring where they live and travelling within Pembrokeshire.
o Michael Slade: What is getting measured now is everyone has gone to large lengths to make the Saundersfoot as safe as possible. Track and trace is not getting to 100% so we do not know who is infected and who is not. This is undermining our efforts. Michael asked what guidance has PCSO Graham Kendall had in regard to marshalling the public.
* PCSO Graham: Powers have been given to issue fixed penalty notices for public order offences, harassment. The police are still giving out tickets to people that have travelled from restricted areas who are breaking the rules, but they are not doing stop points and checks the same as they did during the national lockdown. There is nowhere near as many tickets and stops being done at the moment.
* 37 new cases in Pembrokeshire over the last week they are all very scattered and random with no clear links seen if any links at all from track and trace.
* We need to promote track and trace app on businesses social media and PCSO Graham is going to ask if they the police will promote it too.
* Andrew Evans: Is sending a questionnaire to be shared to members on incidents in the hospitality industry from UKHospitality to be return by the morning of the 13th October 2020. The questionnaire is about any experience of staff or customers in businesses being in contact or contracting covid-19.
* We will have no clarity in Wales until Friday. Wales may bring in an extra tier of lockdown restrictions. If you are told to close there could be additional support to staff. The Welsh Governments Phase 3 of the Economic Resilience Fund is open for application from the 24th October. Waiting on clarity in terms of staffing support on what the Welsh Government are going to do.
* PCSO Graham is forwarding to Dilys the mental health website links to be shared.
* PCSO Graham: The ‘Behave or be Banned’ scheme “BOB” stopped during pandemic and has now restarted. Most of the pubs sign up in the area.
* Andrew Evens: Possibility of money coming through with the possibility of it going through to the local authorities therefore, we need to get these messages to Pembrokeshire County Council. We are stuck within surrounding areas in lockdown we are now fundamentally in lockdown however will not get the finical support the same as the lockdown areas. Talk to local authorities on how businesses are hurting and how important visitor economy and hospitality is to the area. Phil says the message is heard loud and clear in Pembrokeshire County Council on tourism hospitality and visitor economy. We need to keep these conversations going.
* Phil Baker: Saundersfoot Medical Centre has the highest percentage of people with chronic illnesses in the UK and there have been no incidents at all of any Covid cases in Saundersfoot despite being a large hospitality and tourism area. Proving we are doing all we can to keep visitors and residents as safe as possible. Phil is going to send this to Andrew to be passed on as it is a very positive and well evidenced message.
* In Saundersfoot the number of residents eligible for the flu jab 3,000 people. There were 2,265 jabs given on Saturday at the flu clinic in the Regancy Hall. If Doctor Allan agrees to share this information Phil Baker will pass this to Andrew to be passed on as it is also a very good message, we are a tourism community and we are still keeping everyone safe and looking after our residents with no cases. We are managing very well in regard to this.
Next business forum to be held on Monday October 26th at 7:00pm via Zoom.
Link to Advice on Mental Health (from PCSO Graham Kendall)
Meeting ID: 875 5518 0028. (No Password Required)