Hout Bay's Mariner's Wharf closes indefinitely, staff to be laid off

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Hout Bay tourist institution Mariner's Wharf will be closing its doors indefinitely "until the economy recovers", with staff being retrenched.

According to a statement, the harbourfront emporium which opened in 1984 and houses several shops, a restaurant and a bistro "has taken the extremely difficult decision to cease trading until the economy recovers".

"Despite having spent many weeks and sleepless nights trying to find viable alternatives to overcoming the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, which continues to devastate the world, other factors were also taken into consideration and played a crucial role in this decision," read the statement.

These included the dramatic decline in tourism numbers as a result of water restrictions, power outages, poor service delivery, riots, and declining fish resources, as well as issues relating to government leases on which the building stands, the statement said.

Mariner's Wharf founder and developer Stanley Dorman had to make "this extremely difficult call", as the alternative could have led to a liquidation, with employees then receiving less than their full entitlements.

"Sadly, therefore, we decided to draw a line to halt further expenditure and to mothball Mariner's Wharf until our economy and international tourism recovers," Dorman said according to the statement.

"Thus, effective from this month, we will be retrenching employees, the exceptions being elements of essential services such as in our security and maintenance departments. Nonetheless, the company intends guaranteeing affected staff full retrenchment packages, which will also take into consideration long service, in many instances stretching back many years."

 - Compiled by Jan Gerber

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