Staff shortage fears as Covid pings threaten hotel business
That’s the concern of Shropshire pub and restaurant bosses, who live in fear of who will have to pour pints and cook meals as Covid tests and trace pings threaten to decimate their workforce ‘artwork.
The problem is exacerbated by the lack of people interested in working in the sector, and this has led bosses to insist that it may be too early to lift restrictions on Freedom Day Monday.
Around 2,000 pubs that had previously failed to open are expected to resume operations, but UK Hospitality Managing Director Kate Nicholls has warned that already one in five employees in the hospitality industry are self-isolating and the problem will only get worse.
Ashley’s Bar in Shrewsbury is one of many that have had to close due to staff being asked to self-isolate. A statement said: “It is with regret that Ashleys Bar is closed due to Covid-19.
“If you used the NHS Track & Trace app to check in at the bar over the weekend from Friday 9 July to Sunday 11 July, you can now be contacted.
“We will reopen Thursday, July 22 at 4:00 PM. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Elsewhere, James Hopkins, of The Brooklands in Shrewsbury, said recruiting staff is so difficult at the moment and if one of his reliable teams were to be contacted it would be a serious concern. When his son’s class at school was asked to self-isolate, James left the family home and moved into a hotel as a precaution so he could continue working.
He added: “I’ve done well so far, but if any of my employees ping it will make things really tough. We’re under staffing because of the holidays.
“I’ve heard that a lot of places are struggling. For small pubs it’s scary.
“The biggest problem is having staff. You can’t hire people. There are a lot of jobs going on but nobody wants them. You can’t have bosses for love or for the sake of it. silver.
“You used to post a job offer and were inundated with responses. I posted an ad for a chef in May and didn’t receive any applications.”
James Hitchin, of The Alb in Shrewsbury, believes the test and traceability app does not take into account how sites are implementing Covid security.
“I think the problem is that the tracking and tracing system doesn’t take into account whether an environment is safe for Covid. It rings even if you and the other person are separated by a double-glazed window.
“It’s good that a bar is closing, but what about supermarkets or the NHS? They can’t just shut down.
“And the thing is, if you had six bars in town that were nuts and had to close on a Saturday, that makes six venues with five or six hundred people. Where are all these people going? They’re just going to pile in there. ‘other places and create more risk. “
Mark Lewis, manager of the Hadley Park House Hotel in Telford, said: “While we welcome the lifting of the restrictions, this is a double-edged sword as the new Delta variant appears to be on the rise.
“With the restrictions lifted, there is a great risk that some people will just let go. It puts our staff at greater risk of being screwed up and forced into self-isolation or worse of being tested positive.
“This could have a devastating impact on small businesses in our industry that are forced to shut down and cause business losses at a time when we need it most to survive. We operate on a tight rope. We will recommend certainly continued vigilance Mask wearing and other checks will be continued because we just don’t know what goes through the front door.
“Without a doubt, this is the most difficult time of my life, having been in the hospitality industry for over 40 years.”
Lisa Snape, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge, said: “We are delighted that Freedom Day is fast approaching as we believe it will make a big difference to the hospitality industry.
“We will continue with some of our Covid security measures to ensure that we provide a safe place for our customers to visit. “
UK Hospitality has called for companies to be allowed to develop their own policies on the coronavirus and the British Beer and Pub Association has asked for more clarity on how members can operate.
A survey from insurance provider Simply Business reveals the mixed feelings that the Freedom Day stage has created for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). More than half of those polled believe social distancing restrictions are lifted too soon. Almost a third said they would maintain social distancing and reduced capacity within their businesses.
Additionally, 29% believe clearer guidance should be provided to help small businesses reopen safely.
A previous study by the company has shown that Covid-19 will cost SMEs an estimated total of £ 126.6 billion.
Regarding the staff situation, Matthew Fell, policy director of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Companies are currently facing a perfect storm of staff shortages made worse by increasing levels of self-isolation.”
He warned: “While four in ten companies are stepping up and already increasing investment in skills, there is still a long way to go to reach the levels of investment needed to requalify the country.”
Employers who reject staff requests to work from home without sufficient grounds could be found guilty of indirect discrimination, and companies with outdated health and safety policies could violate their obligations to protect staff in the event of illness.