STAFF shortages in the hospitality sector have been described as ‘horrific’, causing some hotels to restrict opening hours while others say they have no choice but to turn away business.
And some business owners have told The Southern Star that many potential employees are demanding to be paid in cash – and they believe it is in a bid to maintain their pandemic unemployment payments.
The Parkway Hotel in Dunmanway confirmed recently that ‘due to the current Covid regulations and the severe shortage of staff available’, they had to restrict trading hours ‘for the foreseeable future’.
From Tuesday of this week, they will be closed for food and beverage services on Tuesday and Wednesdays.
Bunnyconnellan restaurant in Myrtleville has also announced that as a direct result of the staffing crisis, it is closed until Sunday September 5th.
Neil Grant, manager of the Celtic Ross Hotel, confirmed to The Southern Star that they had turned away 100 people on Sunday, and another 100 on Monday because people were turning up without bookings and they weren’t staffed to deal with it.
Barry Looney, general manager of the West Cork Hotel, said that at full strength there are about 65 people working at the 50-bedroom hotel, but they are now down to 50.
‘A lot of students who were on the PUP didn’t come off it, so we had to rely on younger staff – people aged 16 and 17 – who were willing to learn the trade,’ said Barry.
‘We are definitely short staffed and while there is a lot of negativity about the PUP, it’s not the main reason,’ he said.
‘The summer was difficult and during lockdown people reassessed their lives and wanted more certainty in a job.
‘Some decided to leave the industry because they didn’t want to work weekends, or evenings, and even before the pandemic, chefs were like gold dust.
‘I’ve never experienced anything like this year,’ he added.
‘We cannot get people to work. We are looking to the winter with worry.’
‘Truly horrific’ are the words Neil Grant used to describe the situation.
‘I am on job sites daily, phoning everyone I know in the industry all over the world. I’ve been speaking to people in Germany, Italy and Scotland, and it’s the same the world over.
‘It is not an Irish problem, it is not a hotel problem, people have got out of the business and they have not gone back in.’