Hospitality sector crippled by staff shortages as Covid restrictions ease

Watch Rob Murphy's report here.

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.

Rob Clayton owns a restaurant in Bath and says he has been having to bring his family in to help support the business as he is struggling to find people who want work.

"I have two daughters who help out when needed and my wife but we are trying to recruit and it is a challenge," he said.

"We have looked at it and thought about how we can make the prospect working here more attractive. Maybe that is a three-day week or slightly more money.

Rob says that he is struggling to get staff on shorter contracts in his restaurant.

"It has been really difficult.

"Maybe it is because of furlough or Brexit. Come September maybe it will change and people will be looking again."

Kate Nicholls of Hospitality UK said the region was facing a number of acute challenges by the lifting of restrictions, and said there is currently a 10% vacancy rate in the South West.

The sector was crippled by the pandemic and now is facing a very different kind of problem, but Emma Summers of Juice Recruitment believes the issue will only last for the next few months before businesses start to reap rewards of restrictions being lifted.

"Things will get better in the future," Emma told ITV News West Country.

Emma Summers says that thing will "get better" for the sector over coming months.

"People will be looking for work when furlough officially ends in September and there will be students who are looking for jobs. They will be available and it will level out.

"We will see this for some months but I think as time goes on we will get back to some sort of normality."

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