Staff Update 13th May 2020


To: All Staff
From: Andrew Hulcoop
Re: COVID-19
Date: 13th May 2020

A very quick update to bring you up to speed with the latest news from Cotswold.

As suspected the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday night did little to change the current guidelines re the operation of our business. His statement suggesting that if you can’t work from home then you should return to your place of work, was a little misleading to say the least. Our showrooms are classed as non-essential retail activity and therefore we are going against the advice of the government if we were to open and given the level of support that they have shown towards us and our business, then I think we should comply with their plan.

The government has set out a staged plan for recovery and subject to everything being in line with their expectations, we can look forward to opening the showrooms again on Monday 1st June. What this doesn’t mean is that everyone will return to the business on that day; doing this would be a massive backward step and no doubt see us breaching many of the social distancing rules. The return to work will be a well-planned and thought out process and your line manager will be in touch with you individually prior to 1st June and will give you either a definite or an indicative date for your return.  Prior to yesterday’s announcement about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) we were planning to use the programme and leave many people on the scheme until the end of June and this is still our intention.

Yesterday we learned that the CJRS programme will continue until the end of July in its current format and this saves us from announcing any imminent redundancies as we now have the full support for a further month. They have also suggested that with effect from 1st August we will have the ability to bring some of the team back on a part time basis and share the salary cost with the government – I would expect that the business pay you for the time worked with the government supporting the remainder. Details of this scheme hasn’t yet been published and we won’t know much more until later this month. We still can’t rule out any redundancies but hopefully the longer the support is there, the more chance the business has got of recovering to the turnover levels that were enjoyed prior to lockdown.

Our intention is to bring as many of the team back in order to satisfy the customer demand and it won’t be until we’ve been back for a couple of weeks that we know what that demand is. We will continue to communicate on a fortnightly basis (even when the showrooms are open again) on what % of people have returned and how the business is performing and this hopefully will give those not back in the business a feeling of partial involvement.

Karen, Paul, Peter, Mitch and Anthony have been working virtually continuously since the lockdown and an extraordinary amount of work has gone towards preparing the business to enable a safe as possible return to work for everyone and I would like to thank them for all of their hard work. I would also like to thank everyone who has been working in the business to support key workers and the emergency services during the last seven weeks.

We will write again as we get closer to 1st June and will hopefully be able to bring you up to speed on the revised CJRS and will also cover of treatment of holidays etc in the event of you being on an extended furlough period.

I’ve got nothing else to say at the moment other than it looks like there may be a little light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone has a part to play and non-adherence to the social distancing guidelines could well see the train slowing down and the tunnel getting longer. I hope you are as well as can be expected in these extraordinary times and are starting to feel a little more positive about your future security, I know I am!