The UK hospitality industry has gone through an incredibly hard year and is now facing a staffing crisis. It's no question that many sectors in the UK struggle to survive post lockdown.
With more delays of easing restrictions, businesses are questioning their future and are calling for further financial support from the government.
Here's a wee breakdown of what's going on in the UK hospitality industry right now and what can happen next.
Corona has for sure changed hospitality. No, not the beer! The virus that has killed millions of people worldwide and caused national lockdowns. Businesses had to shut due to Covid-19 and staff were either let go or put on furlough.
Now, as things start opening up, employers have a hard time finding staff. It seems that some workers have moved on from the hospitality sector and found new, more Covid-19-secure positions. To add to that, employees are expecting better pay and shorter hours which is a yet another hurdle for hospitality employers.
To overcome the recruitment crisis, some businesses decided to create Open Days for job-seekers in hopes of attracting possible employees. Current hospitality staff are working at reduced capacity and are pushed to their limits as more people start going out. However, physical distancing rules and early closing hours still mean losing money or not being able to open up for places such as clubs and bars.
What hits the recruitment crisis even more, according to industry leaders, is Brexit. EU hospitality workers made up a large portion of the roles and have now returned to their home countries.
To help solve the problem, UKHospitality is calling the government to bring the 'Australian-style visa scheme'. The new coronavirus recovery visa would let oversea workers come over for 2 years and take up entry level jobs. By doing this, the UK will become more attractive to EU workers.
Easing Restrictions Postponed
Johnson sets new date for 19 July
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on June 14th his decision to push back easing restrictions in England by another 4 weeks. As a result, this delay could cost the sector as much as £3 billion in sales. Johnson said the extra time will reduce deaths and allow for at least two-thirds of adults to receive both doses of the vaccine.
However, restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels and clubs are disappointed by the lack of government support. Rishi Sunak rejected furlough extensions demanded by the businesses that are affected by the PM's decision.
Sturgeon says Level 0 by 28 June is 'unlikely'
The First Minister said on 15 June that it's highly unlikely for any part of Scotland to move down to Level 0 by June 28th. She announced the decision to keep restrictions for further three weeks after the initial date, 28 June. Similarly, the reason is to be able to vaccinate as many people with both doses as possible within that delay period.
This means Scotland might ease its restrictions around the same time as England, after Boris Johnson set a new date for July 19th.
Scotland beyond Level 0
Nicola Sturgeon also referred to publishing the details of strategic framework and life after level 0. There will still be some restrictions on hospitality after going down to that level. Reviewing physical distancing and relating restrictions detailed in a report will give businesses information to plan for the future.
What does that mean for the UK hospitality sector?
The fear is that businesses will have to operate at reduced capacity with no further financial support from the government. The delay will put many hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs in jeopardy.
Wanting to limit the risk of more Covid-19 cases is understandable. Nevertheless, the hospitality industry is already struggling to survive as it is. The staffing crisis has made reopening businesses difficult and employers need assurance that they won't be left with no support.
Good news is, the Government has announced measures to solve the rent debt crisis. The extension to protect commercial tenants from evictions to March next year gives hospitality a path to recovery and prosperity. Let's hope that the UK hospitality sector will overcome all these hurdles and return to its victorious self!
If you want to help end the staffing crisis and fancy working in hospitality, have a look at our vacancies!