Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes has penned an emotional letter to guests in the wake of new venue restrictions to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Aussie entrepreneur, who is also currently fighting a $120 million wage underpayment class action against his hospitality empire, said he was “completely heartbroken” over the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on Merivale and the wider industry.
Hemmes also said was “in awe” of the passion and strength demonstrated by the company’s staff in recent weeks.
“Behind the scenes, we are doing everything we can to get the business in the best possible position to reopen its doors, and help rebuild our economy, as soon as it is safe to do so,” he wrote.
You can read Hemmes’ letter in full below:
To our dear and valued guests,
It is with a heavy but hopeful heart that I write to you.
As a result of the recent government orders to combat COVID-19, our restaurants and bars have ceased trading as of yesterday for the foreseeable future. Our bottle shops at The Newport, Allawah Hotel and The Royal remain open.
This is the extremely unfortunate reality of COVID-19 and all Australians are being severely impacted through no fault of their own.
It is a particularly devastating time for the hospitality industry, but nothing is more important than health. We wholeheartedly support government efforts to protect our country and will happily play our part to help stop the spread.
Now that this decision has been made for community health and safety, my absolute top priority is supporting our staff. Merivale is what it is today because of its people, and I am simply in awe of our team’s passion and strength, especially over the last few weeks.
Behind the scenes, we are doing everything we can to get the business in the best possible position to reopen its doors, and help rebuild our economy, as soon as it is safe to do so.
We will continue to update you on developments, including how we can continue to operate under the government’s new takeaway and home delivery guidelines, in the hope we can continue to serve you safely and maintain a livelihood for as many of our much-loved employees as possible. I will be in touch with you again once we have finalised our plans.
If you have any questions, I invite you to please contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thank you to those of you who have contacted us with words of support. We won’t forget your kindness.
I am completely heartbroken that this is happening, but remain focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. Together, we will get through this, and I can’t wait to personally welcome you all back into our venues as soon as it is safe.
Thank you, as always, for your unwavering support of Merivale and our venues. It is you, our guests, who make Merivale such a wonderful place to work.
Stay in. Stay safe. Support each other.
Take care. We’ll see you soon.
Featured image credit: Merivale/Facebook