Surviving the Virus

Caerphilly Borough Tourism and Hospitality Businesses Diversify

The coronavirus pandemic has caused chaos for small businesses across the country and many have been forced to shut up shop and seek as much financial support from the government as possible. Amongst the doom and gloom there is positivity, and Caerphilly Borough tourism and hospitality businesses have not let the corona virus crisis keep them down.

Caerphilly Tourism Association is supporting tourism businesses through this bleak time by providing constant updates on financial support, encouraging networking on the Association’s Facebook group and being on hand to answer questions and help as much as possible. In a pledge to support the small businesses who have diversified their service and product offering, the Association and Caerphilly CBC Business Enterprise Renewal Team employees have created a ‘Working Together During Coronavirus’ guide, which features businesses that are still open and are offering a collection and delivery service. Many visitor accommodation providers are offering discounts for NHS workers and some pubs have turned themselves into corner shops! For more information go to to download the guide.

Among the businesses diversifying are Casa Mia Mediterranean Restaurant in Caerphilly. In this time of unprecedented uncertainty; owners Lee Edwards and John Gunderson made a quick decision to adapt to the environment that was put in front of them. It happened overnight and at a time where the restaurant was extremely busy and awaiting Mother’s Day. Delivering pizzas wasn’t on Lee and John’s career path but they had to roll up their sleeves and get on with it! The staff at Casa Mia feel humbled when they see the positive support and wonderful comments online. Lee said “customers are thrilled that we are offering a delivery service and we are grateful that we were able to diversify and keep Casa Mia afloat in such awful circumstances. We will continue to serve the community and await the time when we can give enjoyment to our customers; who we are so thankful for.”

The Fork & Tune Restaurant @The Cwmcarn Hotel opened its doors in June 2019 and then just nine months later had to close its doors due to the corona virus pandemic. However, that didn’t stop owners Vinny and Anja Francis; with quick overnight thinking and bags of enthusiasm they reopened the next day as ‘The Fork & Tune Takeaway Restaurant’, creating online ordering app  Anja said “as the nation was in shock and put on lock down we had to think on our feet. With the uncertainty of not knowing how long this will go on, staying open and being a life line to the community was our number one aim. The response has been overwhelming and we are growing rapidly with the demand. Customers are ordering surprise meals for family members they cannot be with and are really grateful for us brightening up their day. Special occasions are being celebrated with freshly cooked gourmet meals and the rural community is blown away that we’ll drive that far out to deliver.”

The next step is to make the restaurant available as a farm shop/local market for producers to sell from. The local community is shying away from supermarkets and buying local, butchers and green grocers are busier than ever. Anja and Vinny strongly believe in working in partnership and feel that now is the time we all need to pull together. In the long term they plan to build relationships with local businesses and host regular farmers’ markets in the hotel’s courtyard.

Caerphilly Tourism Association is currently offering FREE membership until 1st October 2020 to give tourism and hospitality businesses the support they need now, and to prepare for when business can start again. This is a time for businesses to come together and support each other by sharing information and advice. The Association currently has 75 members from all tourism sectors including visitor accommodation, attractions, activities, restaurants, pubs, cafes and local producers. If you are a tourism related business and would like to join the Association, please contact Stacy Francis, Project Co-ordinator on


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