JOBS at restaurant and travel branches in the New Forest and Christchurch are under threat after two national companies announced they plan cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pizza Express, which has outlets in Lymington and Christchurch, has said it could shut 67 of its UK restaurants because it has reported debts of around £735m.
The announcement came on Tuesday, the second day of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. The company, which is owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital, said pushing down its rent would help protect 9,000 jobs but did not reveal which outlets will go.
Meanwhile Hays Travel – which has branches in New Milton, Lymington and Christchurch – confirmed it will cut 878 jobs from its 4,500 workforce.
The firm, which purchased Bath Travel in 2013 and last year bought up Thomas Cook branches when that firm landed in trouble, said the cancellation of holidays because of Covid-19 and the imposition of travel restrictions to parts of Europe had led to the move.
Owners John and Irene Hays said: “We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we’ve made we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own.
“Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice.
“We are also devastated for everyone who may lose their jobs and we will do all we can in consultations to help them as we focus on retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service.”