Celebrity chef Michael Caines joins call for hospitality workers to get vaccinated

Michael Caines Chef
Celebrity chef Michael Caines says all hospitality workers should be encouraged to get vaccinated. Credit: ITV

Celebrity chef Michael Caines has joined tourism bosses in Devon to call for hospitality staff to get vaccinated.

Visit Devon is encouraging those working in the West Country's hospitality sector to get vaccinated to protect them against Covid-19.

The organisation says the industry can not afford another lockdown and believes vaccinating staff will help prevent it from happening again.

At the moment people aged between 20 and 39 make up the highest portion of positive coronavirus cases - and the hospitality sector traditionally employs people in this age range.

Vaccination is being seen as the key to keeping the nation out of lockdown and it is for that reason Visit Devon wants to see employers encouraging their staff to be vaccinated.

Chef preparing food at Lympstone Manor Hotel Credit: ITV News West Country

Sally Everton, from Visit Devon, said: "We can't afford these small medium sized enterprises to have to close, because that's how desperate it is.

"If there's another lockdown they will close, there is not a cushion of money for them to keep them going. So what they are having to do is trade, some of them, not even profitably at the moment."

She said it is "vital" staff are fully vaccinated for when businesses can fully reopen when restrictions are due to ease on July 19.

The calls are supported by chef Michael Caines, who owns a string of restaurants and a hotel in Devon and Cornwall.

Michael Caines, Chef Credit: ITV News West Country

He said: "It's obvious that the sector that's been one of the hardest hit in terms of hospitality and catering, should take the responsibility now to try and encourage their staff to be vaccinated, because that's the only way we are going to get out of this pandemic."

It is hoped by encouraging staff to be double vaccinated, tourists will feel reassured when they visit the region.

Stephen Garrod, from Lympstone Manor Hotel, said: "We're a very small property but we come into contact with still up to 100 people a day and the threat or the risk of catching Covid at the moment is very high with that contact, despite all the measures being taken, so any way we can minimise or reduce that risk."

Across the region vaccination centres are more accessible for people to get jabbed - even without an appointment.

Leigh Mansfield, Exeter Vaccination Centre: "It's really important that everybody that's eligible now comes forward to get vaccinated so that we can meet that deadline of 19 July to offer all adults their first vaccination.

"We know a lot of young people work in that industry so we're here, we're ready, lots of appointments available and encourage people to come and get their vaccination."