The National Farm Attractions Network, or NFAN, have put together some guidance and advice to help support farm attractions through this difficult time. It seems only a few weeks ago since the annual conference up in Doncaster, but so much has changed in the tourism industry since this meeting. With the government advising families to stay at home for the foreseeable future we wanted to communicate and answer some questions on what advice has been provided to the farm attraction industry.
How long do we remain closed?
The government has taken away the option in recent days to stay open and you therefore must remain closed until further notice. There will be many factors to consider when closing your doors like cashflow and staff retention. The government has laid out plans to help businesses within the leisure industries to claim grants and emergency loans to keep paying your bills.
How will I pay and retain my staff?
The government is offering help and advice to all businesses needing assistance to help pay the wages of staff on furlough due to the Coronavirus, otherwise known as Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. You can find more information on the government website. If you have further questions the NFAN advice is to seek out a HR professional to discuss your measures with.
How long will Coronavirus last?
Who knows, if everyone follows the advice of the Prime Minister to stay home and protect lives, this virus could be over in weeks, we just don’t know. Whilst the social distancing measure may cease in coming months, impacts on the tourism industry may be felt for quite some time.
How can you protect your cashflow whilst closed?
The government have announced that businesses within leisure and tourism can delay their payment of PAYE, corporation tax and business rates. A new HMRC helpline has been set up (0800 0159 559) to help you discuss your options and understand what works for you, alternatively you could contact your local authority.
Is my business eligible for Government Grants?
The information released by the government is changing daily. Please visit the below link to find out what schemes you could apply for. You may also be able to take a business rate holiday, please double check on the government website for the latest information.
What should I do about Trade Creditors?
The NFAN guidance states you need to contact your trade creditors to arrange agreeable payment terms. Be honest and open with your supplier and speak to them about making a payment arrangement to suit both your business and theirs.
What other options do I have to help keep my farm attraction going?
There are other ways you could fund your attraction to make sure that you can re-open when the government deem it appropriate to do so. NFAN have outlined a series of measures such as Go Fund Me pages, increasing overdrafts, renegotiate insurance premiums (it appears many business interruption insurance doesn’t cover COVID-19) or taking measures to contact the Rural Development grants.
You can find all up to date information regarding government advice and funding on the gov.uk/coronavirus website. We wish you all the best of luck in the months ahead and we will hopefully see you all at next years NFAN conference.
Please keep an eye on our social channels as we are currently providing daily updates on the evolving pandemic.