‘Hospitality sector is in trouble and needs help’

ISLANDERS are being encouraged to step forward and offer their services to struggling bars, restaurants and hotels, which are faced with closure after businesses saw their workforces decimated as a result of the spike in Covid cases.

Simon Soar, the head of the Jersey Hospitality Association, at the organisation's careers fair earlier this year. Picture: James Jeune (31356050)
Simon Soar, the head of the Jersey Hospitality Association, at the organisation's careers fair earlier this year. Picture: James Jeune (31356050)

With more than 3,100 known active cases and 13,109 direct contacts recorded on Friday, Jersey Hospitality Association chief executive Simon Soar said many establishments were in trouble and needed help.

According to the government job website, there were, as of this weekend, 181 vacancies within hospitality and catering.

The crisis is being compounded by the effects of Brexit which mean that any EU residents wishing to work in Jersey now need a visa, as well as a Jersey work permit. In many instances, this comes at the expense of their employers.

Although many hospitality businesses remain open, restrictions on their operations remain. Many bars have seen their takings hit by a ban on stand-up drinking and nightclubs have been forced to either close completely or amend their operations.

Vittoria nightclub, formerly Mimosa, has expanded its top-floor restaurant into its ground-floor space.

A JHA survey carried out during the week commencing 12 July showed that half of all businesses quizzed had staff who had tested positive for Covid. Of the members surveyed, 40% had adjusted their

operations as a result of employee absence and 3.5% had been forced to temporarily close.

Mr Soar said: ‘I know those numbers will have gone up during the past week.

‘While it’s never nice for a restaurant to close, the concern is that hotels cannot service the requirements of their guests, to whom they have a duty of care. I know one hotel manager is cooking dinner for his guests at present. If a venue can’t close, what is it meant to do?’

Mr Soar said anyone who was available to work in hotels and restaurants over the coming weeks would be welcome, whether or not they had experience in the industry.

‘There are plenty of places who would welcome offers of help. You just have to look on Facebook or ask around to find out which places are having trouble,’ he said.

Businesses were helping each other out where possible, he added, saying: ‘We are all in this together and some businesses have been able to free up staff to help others because they know that it could be them next, and then the venue they have assisted may be able to help them out once they’ve ridden the wave.’

The current position was ‘turbulent’, Mr Soar admitted, but had also shown one of the strengths of the hospitality sector.

‘It’s all about everyone doing their bit,’ he said. ‘The fortitude of the industry is very clear to see and, without it, we would be in a much worse situation.’

Top Stories

More From The Jersey Evening Post

UK & International News