More than three quarters of nightlife businesses have been hit by staff being instructed to self-isolate, according to industry research.
A Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) survey of more than 200 businesses found that 78% of bosses were struggling with staff off work in the seven days following 19 July, when lockdown restrictions ended.
Masses of staff have been instructed to self-isolate for up to ten days after being told via NHS Test and Trace contact-tracers or the NHS Covid 19 app that they have come into contact with someone with coronavirus.
Hospitality’s predominantly young workforce means the sector will feel little relief when rules are changed to allow double-jabbed contacts to escape isolation on 16 August.
Night time economy bosses lost 25% of their total workforce over the week, on average, the trade body found.
One in seven (72%) of businesses said they would be forced to temporarily close parts of their venues or reduce opening hours thanks to the ‘pingdemic’.
“The figures revealed in our survey today are hardly surprising, as we have seen first-hand the carnage brought to operations due to last-minute staffing deficiencies,” NTIA chief executive Michal Kill said.
He added: “In short, this has become a logistical nightmare for managers and team members, has hindered our ability to plan, and has brought with it, similar operational challenges to what we faced during the lockdowns but without the corresponding Government support.”
Hospitality bosses and trade bodies including the NTIA are calling on the Government to introduce a ‘test and release’ scheme that allows ‘pinged’ individuals back to work within a few days subject to negative Covid tests.