Company owner says animal boarding industry has been ‘forgotten’ during pandemic

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In the photo above, Quintessential Quarters owner Jacqueline Montegrino

A Staffordshire kennel and cattery owner criticized the government for ‘forgetting’ the area during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite losing almost all bookings.

Jacqueline Montegrino, owner of Quintessential Quarters at Cotes Heath in Stafford, Staffordshire, spoke out after being told by Stafford Borough Council that she had been denied a business closure payment, despite the cancellation of nearly all its reservations.

The board said to be eligible for a closed business foreclosure payment, “a business must be mandated to close under national foreclosure restrictions.”

Under current lockdown rules, kennels and catteries, such as Quintessential Quarters which has been open for 16 years, can open as usual.

The email Jacqueline received read: “Because pet boarding businesses are not required to close, your business is not entitled to any further restrictions grants or local restrictions support grants, nor to a foreclosure payment from closed businesses. “

Jacqueline said kennels and catteries depend on owners who leave their pets on vacation or at work, so they have all fallen victim to the pandemic. With the exception of a period in late fall when Jacqueline was able to take a handful of reservations and get the staff to work, Quintessential Quarters has been closed.

She also pointed out that kennels and catteries tend to have large premises and outdoor spaces and that maintenance and upkeep costs remain constant while customers are non-existent.

“Bookings melted when the first lockdown was announced in late March 2020, and I had to put my team on leave,” Jacqueline said.

‘The restrictions were relaxed for a while, but by December Staffordshire was at’ level four ‘and the new national lockdown followed.

“There is currently virtually no way for anyone to travel without breaking the law and this effectively shuts down our industry.

“We also have an animal grooming business at Quintessential Quarters and it is not licensed to operate as it is considered non-essential.

“While this is clearly not the fault of the Stafford Borough Council, it seems unfair that the animal boarding industry falls under this extremely inflexible legislation. “

Jacqueline said the next peak in business after Christmas would usually be the Easter holidays, but the travel industry is unlikely to be cleared by then.

The vaccine is a beacon of hope for Jacqueline who has had to put her staff on leave twice in 2020 and who currently has a small team that keeps Quintessential Quarters running.

Jacqueline added: “The dog and cat boarding industry is not seeking special treatment, but although we have been able to secure loans, which must be repaid, the industry appears to have been excluded from government support programs. “

In response, Adviser Mike Smith, a member of Resources, Stafford Borough Council, said: “It is such a terrible time for a lot of our companies and I urge people to contact us as there is support and support. advice available.

“Government guidelines for the payment of subsidies are specific to companies that are not allowed to trade due to restrictions related to the pandemic. We have already paid around £ 35million to eligible businesses during the pandemic.

“We have some leeway to provide additional grants to those who, without being forced to close, have suffered big losses during these difficult times – and people can find our updated policy at staffordbc.gov.uk/business- support-coronavirus. “

To find out more about Quintessential Quarters, visit www.qqltd.co.uk.

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