The hospitality industry across the globe has been up there with the hardest hit by the Covid crisis and Torbay is no exception to this difficult period of uncertainty.

Berry Head, BrixhamBerry Head, Brixham

There is, however, a chink of light growing at the end of this dark tunnel and the responsible reopening of tourism in our Bay will be crucial to the summer season.

The iconic Guardhouse Café perched atop Berry Head in Brixham is one of many local businesses sifting through the options to ensure a safe, comfortable and enjoyable return to some semblance of normality.

“When the lockdown was partly eased, we started operating a takeaway service for people visiting Berry Head, which is just about the safest place you can go at the moment,” said Alex Foley, manager of the Guardhouse Cafe.

“We felt that was morally acceptable and it is now a case of working through the Government guidance to see what we can do at the Guardhouse Café for the summer.

“The English Riviera BID team have been very helpful in keeping local businesses informed on the reopening guidelines. I am also on the Brixham Chamber of Commerce and, through the lockdown period, we have been in contact with more than 100 businesses in the town.

“Everyone has been very badly affected by the crisis and the loss of trade.

“Businesses are reopening but places are not busy yet.

“The furlough system has kept a lot of jobs alive and people have stayed remarkably positive and upbeat in my experience.

“We have 23 staff at the Guardhouse Café, including some part-time staff,” added Alex.

“Everyone was furloughed through the lockdown period and we will make use of the flexible furlough system from July.

“For our business, the challenge comes on a nice sunny day when we would normally be very busy.

“It is finding a balance to be able to provide a service at the speed we would like for our visitors.

“It is about preparing for the return of tourism and ensuring the Guardhouse Café is ready to offer an experience that customers will enjoy in a beautiful setting.”