A luxury boat maker in Oundle has defended its decision to remain open despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fairline Yachts, which employs about 560 people at its boatyard in Oundle, says it has remained open in order to survive the coronavirus crisis.
Last week hundreds of workers across Northamptonshire pleaded to be allowed to go home including one Fairline worker, who said: "I don’t see how or why building yachts would be essential to life at this point."
In a statement made yesterday, Peter McNulty, chief operating officer at Fairline Yachts: said: “Fairline’s Oundle factory is currently operating and we will be making an announcement tomorrow on our updated position.
"The primary reason we have stayed open to date is to help ensure Fairline Yachts survives this crisis.
"We took the decision to continue to fulfil our customer orders whilst we were still able to as failing to do so would have a severe knock-on effect to our global dealer network, who would then not be able to deliver on their contracts with their customers.
"Whilst non-essential retail businesses have been asked to close, manufacturing in Britain is being actively encouraged by the Government.
"This is to ensure that when the crisis is over, we still have strong supply chains and manufacturing businesses in place, ready to make the most of the return to normality and to provide skilled and stable jobs to the people of the UK.
"We would like to clarify that no members of staff are being forced to work at Fairline Yachts.
"We take the health and safety of our people very seriously and we are following strict government guidelines.
"Staff who are able to work remotely are all doing so (and have been for over a week now), and measures have been put in place to safeguard those working at the factory.
"These include implementing social distancing with employees working within their own workstations and keeping at least two metres away from others, breaks have been staggered to ensure maintaining safe distances is possible and our already strict cleaning procedures have been enhanced to ensure there is continuous deep cleaning of the factory in place at all times.”