A Hospitality Ulster survey has revealed that a significant number of Northern Irish hospitality businesses have had to partially or completely close due to employees having to self-isolate.
In a statement published on its website, Hospitality Ulster said, "Conducted over [the] weekend [of Friday July 23 to Monday July 26], the results of the latest survey of Hospitality Ulster members on the impact of the current COVID isolation policy have shown that more than half (59%) of the hospitality businesses that responded have had to partially or completely close due to staff having to self-isolate.
"Almost a quarter of the respondents (23%) said that they were forced to totally close as staff numbers dropped so low that they could not fully function and had to take unfortunate but necessary action.
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
"A staggering 74% of respondents reported staffing shortages overall due to isolation, with 82% of those surveyed saying that have already closed partially or completely up to two times, with 20% of respondents stating that they have already closed partially or completely more than twice."
Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive Statement
In a statement also published on Hospitality Ulster's website, Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said, "It is clear that the current isolation policy is painting an extremely worrying picture of the viability of the hospitality sector caused by staff shortages due to them isolating after close contact with someone testing positive.
"It is simply unsustainable, with nearly three quarters of hospitality businesses that responded reporting staff shortages due to isolating and a quarter stating that they have had to close completely. The current isolation policy for vaccinated staff is clearly a problem and we call on the Executive to review and revise the isolation policy immediately to a 'test to remain at work' process as the current situation is having a massive negative impact on hundreds of business across Northern Ireland.
"It is clear that hospitality businesses are struggling already under punitive restrictions that limit their ability to fully open unlike most other businesses. Having to close with no financial support in place due to this problem is presenting huge difficulties and a great deal of worry and stress for owners and staff. It is getting to a situation where shutters are being pulled down, staff are forced out of work, and no trade at all is taking place.
"We need our decision makers to urgently review and replace the current isolation policy for the hospitality sector and provide financial support for the staff and owners when businesses are forced to close due to staff isolating."
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.