Club Update

Coronavirus / Covid 19 Virus
25th March 2020

 

I am writing to update you on the various impacts of the Covid – 19  Virus Crisis on the Club.
 
I know that many Members are affected by the current crisis either due to ill-health, financial difficulty, self-isolation, shielding, or from friends, family and loved ones being affected by the same issues.  Many will also be missing the Club and the Club misses you all! 
 
Following the various announcements from the Government over the past few days I would like to update you on several matters:
 
Club Operations  
The Club is now open only to Members who the Government has designated as ‘Key Workers’ and require bedroom accommodation only - for them there will be no cost associated with staying at the Club at this time.  If you are a Key Worker and require accommodation please do email mailto:reservations@orientalclub.org.uk or telephone + 44 (0)20 7629 5126.  Otherwise we must ask Members, in accordance with Government guidelines, not to visit the Club until further notice.  The telephone lines are also open for any advanced Bedroom, Dining or Private Dining enquiries. 

Staff and the Government’s Proposed Job Retention Scheme 
The Crisis Group of Board and Committee Members have continued to meet regularly by Video Conference with one of the main focuses being the financial and social well-being of all Team members.  A modest number of operationally important Team members continue to work full time – mostly from home.  Several, including myself, are working on rotating shifts at the Club to provide twenty-four-seven fire and property monitoring and protection, as well as undertaking various administrative and practical tasks.  

In anticipation of the further details of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, and in order for the Club to claim this financial aid for employees, all other Team members have been given notice of furlough. Formal negotiations are now taking place in accordance with contractual and statutory requirements.  All Team members were invited to join a series of Video Conferences which I have hosted over the past ten days or so and everyone has now been spoken with on an individual or group basis.  It is hoped that all will accept this proposal as it will provide the Club with the best opportunity to retain as many Team members as possible for as long as possible, on reasonable terms.  This will have clear benefits to individual employees as well as the overall interests of the Club and Members once back to full operations.  At this stage, the intention is to partially top-up salaries from Club funds, and the Troncmaster - Member - Martin Gordon OBE, will also give consideration to providing grants from this Fund.  The Troncmaster’s recent communication to Members may be found here, and if you have not yet contributed I would encourage you to do so to the extent that you feel able during this difficult time for us all.
 
This is an extraordinarily challenging time for the Club but it has faced many others in its long history.  Morale is high and the Club’s spirit and ethos is built on strong foundations.  The increased usage, stable membership and strong trading we have delivered over the past few years has put the Club in a position where it has enough time and financial resilience to make considered choices during the early stages of this crisis.  The Job Retention Scheme and VAT deferral plans, as well as other initiatives announced by the Government, substantially strengthen this position further.  Our loyal, dedicated and enthusiastic Team are unhappy that in most cases they are currently unable to contribute materially in their usual way to the vibrancy of the Club and the happiness of Members but with the plan outlined above they will remain on stand-by to do so as soon as it is safe and practicable. 

Member Welfare 
I am aware that many Members will now be self-isolating, social distancing or shielding and in some cases this may be presenting challenges.  If there is anything that the Club can do to assist you during this time then please do contact the Duty Manager or reply to this email.  Marijke Jongeleen and others will be very happy to telephone you for a chat if nothing else! 

We will soon be in contact to suggest ways that we may maintain collegiate communications among Members and to plan for brighter days and Club Events in the future. 

I would like to thank you for your resolve and support during this unprecedented period in all of our lives and the latest chapter in the long and distinguished history of the Club, its Members and its Staff.
 
With my very best wishes,
 
Stay Safe  



Club Secretary