Yorkshire hospitality businesses forced to close again as they lose staff to self isolation

Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality businesses in Yorkshire are being forced to turn away customers as a growing number of staff are being told to self-isolate.

Business owners are struggling with a recruitment crisis and losing staff members who have come into close contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19 (stock image)
Business owners are struggling with a recruitment crisis and losing staff members who have come into close contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19 (stock image)

Owners who have been looking to meet pent-up demand since the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, are now struggling with a recruitment crisis and losing staff members who have come into close contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19.

They have also been losing out on much-needed revenue as customers have been cancelling bookings at the last minute, after receiving the dreaded alert from the NHS COVID-19 app.

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The Government has announced that people who are fully vaccinated will not need to self isolate if they come into contact with someone infected with the virus from August 16, but there are concerns this rule change will come too late for businesses which are already struggling.

James MacKenzie, owner of the Michelin-starred Pipe & Glass in Beverley, was forced to close the restaurant for at least 10 days earlier this week after 10 members of staff were told to self isolate.

“We’re not alone in this. It’s happening up and down the country,” he said. We’ve been operating at full capacity as much as we can so we’ve obviously got high stock levels and we’ve been taking extra staff, to rebuild our team, and thinking positively.

“But when something like this happens, we’re back to square one again.”

Helen Haraty, owner of Grays Court Hotel & Restaurant, said her business is unable to serve lunch or dinner because six members of staff are self isolating and it is currently losing out on around half its weekly revenue.

“We’ve got healthy employees who can’t come back to work for anything between seven to 10 days,” she said. “We test every few days and we test every staff member, so we know they’re okay. But obviously, they’re all terrified of being fined and they don’t want to break the law.”

Welcome to Yorkshire led by chief executive James Mason, inset, is now lobbying the Government to exempt fully vaccinated people who test negative for Covid from self-isolation.

He said: “Welcome to Yorkshire are working closely with businesses in Yorkshire’s tourism and hospitality industry that are facing the immediate challenges posed by a lack of staff within the sector and the increasing threat that self isolation is leading to restaurants, bars and accommodation providers are having to close their doors because they do not have enough staff to service demand.

"In addition, many are seeing bookings cancelled at the last minute due to clients having to self-isolate."