Barrhead Travel will take advantage of the government’s business help scheme as all UK travel agencies shut up shop under strict new rules designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Last night (23 March), prime minister Boris Johnson told the nation about a set of new laws which will enforce social distancing.
They include banning gatherings of more than two people, asking the public to only leave home to exercise once a day and closing all “non-essential” shops.
Stores deemed necessary include supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations.
“The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone,” said Johnson.
“All over the world, we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.”
Before the Covid-19 crisis, Barrhead was embarking on an ambitious expansion scheme which would see 100 new shops opened.
The chain had decided to close all shops at 5.30pm yesterday, three hours before Johnson made the move obligatory.
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead said: “The escalating situation with the global spread of the virus has placed an undue amount of financial pressure on our business.
“This decision was made with a heavy heart but it has been made in a bid to safeguard our business and crucially, to protect the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers.”
Dobson said Barrhead will be liaising with the government to access its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Under the temporary initiative, HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed worker’s wages, up to £2,500 per month.
A spokesperson from Hays Travel said: "Our thoughts are with all of those who are affected in so many ways in these worrying times.
"We are very grateful for all the messages of support we have had and can assure everyone that we will be here to help throughout this time."
Hays has also set up a Customer Service Hotline number on 0333 0339 985.
Tui has also been contacted for comment.