image captionThe tourist attraction closed in the coronavirus lockdown
A tourist attraction in Somerset is to close for the foreseeable future with the loss of 40 jobs, its parent company has said.
Longleat Enterprises said Cheddar Caves and Gorge would not re-open this year and it “could not seeing that changing in 2021”.
“The effect of the pandemic on our operations has been profound,” it said.
The staff, all based at Cheddar, will now be entering into a formal redundancy process.
Cheddar Caves and Gorge features a series of caves, a museum and cafe and also offers rock climbing activities in the gorge itself.
image captionLongleat Enterprises says it hopes to reopen in a “bigger, better way”
The company, which also runs Longleat Safari Park, said the decision had been made in part because of the “trajectory of the virus in 2021 and associated guidance and rules”.
“With great regret amid the ongoing uncertainty and long timescales involved we have to consider making redundancies, which will affect the vast majority of our staff working at Cheddar,” it added.
HR director Simon Askew said they hoped to “reopen, in a way which is bigger and better than before” at some point in the future.
“This would not be the end of Cheddar as a wonderful attraction, but it would mean we have to close the gates, for some time,” he said.
“As you will appreciate, our primary focus, at this time, is ensuring that we deal with our staff who are impacted in a way which is as fair as possible.”