Cornwall hotel warns workers could buckle under staycation pressure

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

People working in Cornwall's hospitality industry say they could buckle under the pressure of the biggest staycation the region's ever seen. 

While all the restrictions have legally been lifted, the lack of seasonal workers, the shrinking affordable housing market and the impact of the so called 'pingdemic' is putting a huge strain on those serving tourists.

The Marina Hotel in Newquay is a running at half of its staff capacity and has had to ask former employees back from retirement as well as bringing in relatives including children to wait on tables.

Vince Cunliffe has picked up shifts at the hotel as a favour to his mum, but says it is going to lead to people burning out.

"I'm shattered to be honest with you, I did 60 hours last week on top of my normal job. But it's to help my mum, but there are plenty of other people and plenty of other places doing really long hours and it can't carry on else people with burn out."

Staff have turned to friends and family to pick up extra shifts in the restaurant Credit: ITV West Country

The kitchen is running with two chefs instead of its usual four or five - but earlier this month management had to order in fish and chips and pasties from nearby businesses after sickness meant one chef was left to cover nearly 100 guests.

Matt Squires is the head chef at The Marina Hotel, he says the team have done a brilliant job keeping guests happy but behind the scenes it's been pushing some members to tears.

"We're such a close knit team and morale is really good cos we keep each other going. I mean there are a few times where there is some upset, some tears, and people work too much."

"It's not perfect it would be better if there was another seven, or eight, or 10 of us but at the moment we can't have that."

ITV West Country filmed with coach tour guests from South Wales who were full of praise for the staff but said they could see how "tired" the team were at the end of their shifts and many were doubling up on their front of house roles.

It was also the first day on the job for Casey Powell, who returned to hospitality after working recently in care. She says although they are hard working days there is nowhere else you get the same camaraderie.

"Ever since I started my first waitressing job, when I was 15, I've loved it. I'm a very people person but I definitely think there's a window try to encourage people to come back in. It's definitely a great job to work in, it's fast-paced."

While historically entry level jobs in the hospitality trade have been lower in pay, the limited staff numbers mean some places have experienced a wage bidding war to entice people over to different establishments.

But head chef Matt Squires says those inflated wages have an expiry date.

"I could go out of here and get £45,000-£50,000 a year but at the end of September I probably won't have a job because it's seasonal.

"Here it's all year round. We're fully booked until the end of November and then it's Christmas time - it's a year-long job. So people who are offering mega money - it's just do you want to have the money and be out of a job in six months?"