Hospitality sector in South crippled by staff shortages as Covid restrictions ease

As the restrictions are eased on the hospitality sector a number of restaurants, bars and pubs are getting back to full capacity - but that is bringing a number of other issues.

Figures show up to half of the people who were working in hospitality before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic may not return to the sector full-time, meaning some businesses are struggling to cope with the increase in demand.

Restrictions were a huge barrier for many businesses in the hospitality industry, but now staff shortages are putting some owners under huge amounts of stress.

Some have blamed Brexit for encouraging EU workers to leave the country, while others say the furlough scheme has led to former hospitality staff getting second jobs in other sectors.

  • Kit Bradshaw looks at the effect on the hospitality trade in the South East

Many eateries have found chefs and waiters are in short supply since reopening after lockdown and advertised salaries appear to be rising, as venues try to reel in the talent.

Those who make a living out of filling hospitality vacancies, say they've never seen it so bad. 

A Government spokesperson told ITV News Meridian its "plan for jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work." They added that the " points based immigration system makes clear that employers should focus on investing in our domestic workforce."

The easing of restrictions comes after various stipulations were met as part of the roadmap out of lockdown, including the number of vaccinations carried out.