Gloucestershire hotel businesses may have to reduce their opening hours or even temporarily shut down due to the ripple effect of Covid-19 self-isolation rules.
Steve Gardner-Collins, President of Visit Gloucestershire, said: “Hotel businesses in Gloucestershire are facing a wave of colleagues needing to isolate themselves, which puts even more pressure on the visitor experience and keeps them running.
“Colleagues across the county face a double threat of not being able to recruit staff, having had weeks of reopening and suffering from recruiting issues and at the same time now having to juggle teams, or bubbles, that must isolate, either because of the outbreak in schools affecting families or generally those who tested positive.
“Hotel owners face tough decisions about cutting services even further or the prospect of having to temporarily close.”
His comments follow a Business Select Committee hearing yesterday where it was said in some cases up to a third of the sector’s staff could be hit by self-isolation rules as the situation worsens .
Kate Nicholls, Managing Director of UK Hospitality, gave a stern warning when addressing members of the committee.
One in five workers in the hospitality and retail sectors are currently on sick leave, they told MPs, but UK Hospitality fears it could get even worse.
The comments highlight growing concerns about the number of people being alerted to stay home after coming in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus.
Ms Nicholls said the hospitality industry was already facing a shortage of 200,000 workers, with positions unfilled after some moved to other careers when restaurants, pubs and hotels were closed for closures.
As reported by Sky News, she told MPs: “We have one in five hospitality staff in isolation, and we have particular concerns as around 60% of our staff are under the age of 30.
“The changes to allow people doubly vaccinated to avoid isolation will not materialize until September, as the workforce will not have been able to receive their second vaccine by then.
“We think we need to have an exit testing policy to help them work.
“For a lot of our small businesses, if you lose one or two of your employees, you don’t have enough people to open, and that obviously has huge ramifications.”
Helen Dickinson, Managing Director of the British Retail Consortium, said there was a similar problem in stores.
She told MEPs: “We are seeing vacancy rates of around 20%.
“And only part of it directly affects people with COVID – a lot is the side effect of having to self-isolate, regardless of testing or whether you’ve had two vaccines.
“I think it’s an immediate problem that comes with the lifting of the restrictions.”
Earlier there had been news of long delays at Heathrow Airport as security staff were forced to self-isolate under similar circumstances.
And government figures show that student absence from schools has now reached an all-time high due to contact tracing rules with more than 830,000 out of school last week.