Yorkshire hospitality businesses hit by 'huge staff shortages' during ‘pingdemic’

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses in Yorkshire have been hit by “huge staff shortages” following a surge in self isolation alerts from the NHS Covid-19 app.

The latest NHS data shows 64,843 contact tracing alerts were sent to people in Yorkshire and the Humber by the app, in the week ending July 14

Welcome to Yorkshire said businesses are struggling to meet a rise in demand because they are so short staffed and some have been forced to turn down bookings or close temporarily.

Chief executive James Mason is now urging all customers to be “respectful and understanding” towards the affected businesses.

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It comes as the latest NHS data shows 64,843 contact tracing alerts were sent to people in Yorkshire and the Humber by the app, in the week ending July 14.

The Government has taken steps to respond to the so-called ‘pingdemic’, which was fuelled by a surge in cases, and has agreed to make thousands of critical workers exempt from self isolation if they test negative.

But there is no exemption for hospitality workers and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholl has warned that customers face “a summer of venue closures and reduced service”.

Hospitality businesses will have to wait until August 16, when everyone who is fully-vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate if a contact tests positive for Covid.

Mr Mason said “The wonderful weather and the lifting of lockdown has seen a real surge in tourism businesses reopening, recovering and rebuilding, something Welcome to Yorkshire is supporting, in a sector that pre-pandemic was worth a staggering £9bn to the county’s economy and employed almost 225,000 people.

“However, the situation continues to change on a daily basis and there are still challenges ahead.

“We are aware of huge staff shortages and obstacles to regular business operations. Both visitors and staff are being forced to self-isolate, in some cases, resulting in reservation cancellations and short-term venue closures.

“With a real positive rise in demand for domestic breaks it’s incredibly important to ensure all visitors and work forces alike feel safe. The current situation does make planning all the more challenging.

“The Yorkshire tourism industry and its brilliant businesses have adapted in an inspirational and creative way over the last 16 months during the coronavirus crisis, following Government guidelines, reacting to an ever-changing situation.”