Holidaymakers in Cornwall are being encouraged to forgo hotel room cleaning as the South West suffers severe staff shortages exacerbated by pings from the track and trace app. The removal of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca from the Government's green list next week is expected to trigger unprecedented demand on the UK hospitality sector as people opt for "staycations". But hotels, restaurants and pubs are reporting staff shortages because many European workers who would normally come to Britain for seasonal summer work are reluctant to travel because of quarantine rules.
Meanwhile, employers are becoming frustrated with the NHS Covid-19 app after more than half a million alerts in the last week depleted staff numbers forcing businesses to limit menus and services. Bedruthan Hotel in Mawgan Porth, near Newquay, is offering guests a GBP15 credit for each day they choose not to have housekeeping visit their rooms. Emma Benney, marketing manager, said the scheme tackled staffing shortages as well as reassured those guests who do not want cleaners having access to their room while Covid-19 cases are rising.
"Staff from Europe who would traditionally come here for seasonal work are struggling to return to the UK due to the pandemic," she said. "There are also staff accommodation shortages because homes previously used for people relocating here for work are being let now as holiday homes. "Then there is the threat of staff being pinged which would remove them from service. Although this hasn't been too much of a problem for us it has certainly affected businesses in the area."
Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall, urged people not to travel to the area unless they have accommodation booked. "Visitors have to be tolerant and understanding. Some staff are being overworked," he said. "There's already a labour supply shortage, but then you get people being pinged."
Kate Nicholls, the chief executive officer of UK Hospitality, said while businesses welcomed the "staycation boom", many were "operating under significant duress" caused by staff shortages.
"This is compounded by current self-isolation guidelines, which are having a crippling effect on the sector - forcing venues to either reduce opening hours or close altogether," she added.
"In tourist hotspots, such as Cornwall, we're seeing a staffing crisis and a housing crisis further hamper the sector, with operators unable to offer seasonal roles to workers from outside the area as accommodation is simply not available."