The owner of a popular Highlands cafe fears she may have to close the doors for good – putting the jobs of her “family” at risk.
New Zealander Kirsten Gilmour set up the award-winning Mountain Cafe in Aviemore in 2004 with help from husband Alistair’s parents.
But the cafe is one of the many small businesses that has been forced to close due to coronavirus.
And now the head chef fears it may become permanent – putting 20 jobs at risk.
Mrs Gilmour is desperate to keep the cafe going and support the local community, who helped her after her husband was diagnosed with Myeloma back in January 2016.
She praised the team for keeping the cafe running when she left to take care of him and now wants to secure their future.
“These people have supported me throughout and now I can’t do the same for them.
“I can’t just let my staff go. They are my family.
“If one job goes, all the jobs will go. If I could just pay everyone’s wages, I would.
“Hopefully the Mountain Cafe will remain open, but we need help.”
On Friday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the government would pick up most of the wages of workers unable to work due to coronavirus, which Mrs Gilmour stressed would need to happen “now” to protect her workforce.
In the hospitality business, restaurant and cafe owners are often used to operating on small profit margins – meaning their industry will be one of the hardest hit.
Despite the pleas of politicians and health experts to stay at home, the local community turned out in force to support the Mountain Cafe, which ultimately lead to the doors closing quicker.
Mrs Gilmour, 42, said: “We were so grateful for the support but because of the coronavirus we feared we were doing more harm than good.
“There were a lot of moral issues about keeping the cafe open. A lot of old people especially turned up to help and show their support but our priority is to protect them and keep people safe.
“The 80% from the Government will be a massive help, I’ve just emptied the bank to make sure everyone is paid.
“Which is a scary prospect as we still have suppliers and bills to pay.
“It is great that I have been able to pay our staff, but the uncertainty of no longer paying myself a salary means even my phone bill has become a frightening prospect.”