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Gloucestershire Business News

Self-isolation rules cause 'carnage' for hospitality staffing

The hospitality sector faces acute staff shortages as positive Covid test results lead to whole work teams having to self-isolate. One industry body has described the situation as 'carnage'.

There's a warning that Gloucestershire restaurants, cafes and hotels may have to offer reduced service levels this summer as staff are told to stay at home.

The Government has delayed the easing of rules on self-isolation until 16th August. Most Covid restrictions are due to end earlier on the 19th July.

Steve Gardner-Collins, chairman of Visit Gloucestershire, said: "Hospitality again bears the brunt of the next wave of problems, staffing shortages have caused issues for weeks, now we are being faced with positive cases and bubbles having to isolate.

"Expect reduced service levels this summer across the board as customers and staff are equally at risk, despite following all of the guidance, meeting up and socialising under current restrictions is starting to take its toll, when everything moves on from the 19th July we'll all have to take a deep breath as to how the summer will now take shape."

From next month, double-jabbed people in England will not have to isolate if a close contact tests positive.

But as testing increases, cases are rising, and potentially millions of people will have to take time off work because of contact with someone getting a positive test result.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: "The sector is experiencing severe staff shortages, compounded massively by the absence of team members who have been told to isolate despite not having shared shifts with colleagues who tested positive.

"Introducing a test to release system for fully vaccinated people from the middle of next month not only fails to recognise the carnage the current system is causing hospitality and the wider economy, but also significantly discriminates against a huge proportion of our workforce.

"Around 60% of our staff are aged between 15-34 and the vast majority will not have had the opportunity to receive both jabs by the 16th August.

"With cases predicted to continue to rise, this means that hospitality's recovery after 16 months of lockdown and severely disrupted trading will be harmed.

"Operators will be forced into reducing their operating hours or closing venues completely. We urge the Government to move quicker on this issue to prevent the summer being cancelled and vast swathes of the population unnecessarily confined to their homes."

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