Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Jaffa at the Oval closes its doors due to COVID-19

Jaffa at the Oval (Photo courtesy Trinidad Event Spaces)

Jaffa at the Oval (Photo courtesy Trinidad Event Spaces)

Jaffa at the Oval has been forced to close due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business operations.

The restaurant, which was located on the second floor of the Queen's Park Oval in Port-of Spain, ceased operations effective May 31.

A letter was sent to all employees informing them of the decision.

In the letter dated May 29, employees were told that the directors of JKP Investments Limited, the company under which the restaurant operated, made the "difficult decision" to permanently close the restaurant due to the effects of COVID-19.

JKP Investments Director Paul Mowser noted that over the last two years Jaffa at the Oval had been experiencing "unprecedented persistent and sustained losses" brought about by the economic downturn.

He added that an HR consulting firm was brought on board with the mandate to undertake a restructuring and reorganisation of the business model with the objective of restoring the restaurant to profitability.

However, the letter stated: "While the restructuring exercise was in train, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of this year, has created for Jaffa an insurmountable hurdle in its efforts to continue operating its restaurant business, as a viable going concern, in that the government, in an effort to halt the spread of the virus, passed a series of public health regulations, which in the first instance banned the operations of in-house dining and as of April 7 2020, the curbside sale/catering of prepared meals to the public."

According to the letter, the restaurant's financial position became even "more precarious" as a result of the effects of COVID-19 on the business sector.

It added that it was unlikely that the restaurant would be able to survive under the post-COVID-19 restrictions.

By way of appreciation, the company said an ex gratia payment of $5,000 would be made to all employees.

The company also made provisions for employees to access counselling, as well as resume/CV preparation services up to June 12.

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