Six in ten hospitality businesses have had staff off work after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid App and 267,000 people (13% of the hospitality workforce) have recently been, or are currently, self-isolating.
The ‘pingdemic’ has caused nearly half (47%) of hospitality businesses to reduce their trading hours, about six in ten are relying on remaining staff to work longer hours and others have moved to limit menus (39%) and/or offering a takeaway-only service (8%).
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “This is an absolutely critical summer period for hospitality and tourism in the UK yet, during what should be peak season, many operators are being forced to reduce trading hours or close their doors completely due to the ‘pingdemic’.
“This is an industry that is striving to get back to its feet, with some businesses only now able to trade for the first time after a long period of closure. Hospitality has a crucial role to play in driving the UK’s economic recovery but without swift intervention more businesses will close and more jobs will be lost.”
The Department of Health and Social Care updated the NHS Covid app to instruct people to self-isolate if they come into contact within two days of a positive test rather than five days.
Commenting on the announcement, Nicholls added: “This will help to alleviate some of the pressure currently being experienced by hard-hit businesses, but is not a silver bullet.
“The fact that fully vaccinated staff will still currently have to self-isolate is a significant barrier to venues operating viably and moving towards recovery. We urge Government to update guidance and bring forward a workable test to release scheme at the soonest possible opportunity.”