Where do the hospitality and catering industry stand in this period?
With over four million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, governments across the globe have had to implement stringent measures to contain the spread of this terrible disease. One of the industries which is being most affected by these new measures is the hospitality and catering sector according to hospitality recruitment agency London: restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels, airbnbs, cinemas, theatres, gyms and other entertainment and leisure facilities have been forced to close or operate at a lower capacity for the time being.
Hospitality Recruitment Agencies Suffers Most Due To COVID-19
The hospitality and catering industry in the UK has never experienced anything like this lockdown before, and it is hard to predict when (and if) it will return to “business as usual”.
Therefore, currently, there aren’t as many new job openings in this sector as before. Hospitality recruitment agencies data shows that many people are being furloughed or have lost their jobs altogether. Restaurants that are able to provide take-away and pick-up services are running on skeleton staff.
Nevertheless, as lockdown is gradually being lifted in other countries, we can start looking at how they are addressing safety issues and starting to build the so-called “new normal”. This can help us get an idea of the possible routes the UK could pursue in the future, in order to reopen businesses without triggering dangerous outbreaks.
So, how could hospitality and catering sector safely operate in the future?
To travel to the future one doesn’t need a TARDIS: one just needs to pay attention to what Italy is doing (something which, by the way, would have come in handy a couple of months ago).
On the 18th May Italy will start reopening bars and restaurants. These are some of the measures which the catering sector will have to adhere to:
- the premises will have to be equipped with several hand sanitiser stations for both staff and customers;
- booking is strongly encouraged in venues which have seating: the list with the names and contacts of the customers will have to be kept for a fortnight, so that they can be notified should any person dining at the same time as them come down with COVID-19 and the government can keep trace of possible outbreaks;
- tables must be arranged in such a way as to ensure social distancing: physical barriers such as plexiglass sheets may be placed in order to attain this;
- plexiglass sheets must also be placed in front of the cash desk. When this is not possible, staff must use PPE (personal protective equipment – e.g. disposable masks, gloves, etc.) instead;
- waiters will have to wear masks and use hand sanitiser before serving each table;
- recirculating air in an enclosed space through ventilation systems is recognised as a health risk, and should therefore be avoided. Keeping windows open is advised instead;
- where possible, outdoor seating will be encouraged;
- self-service buffets are not allowed;
- customers will have to wear a mask each time they leave their table (for instance, when going to the toilet);
- at the end of each meal, surfaces must be sanitised. Reusable items such as salt and pepper shakers and oil jugs should be avoided: single-use sachets should be used instead.
While some Italian restaurant owners are rather sceptical about the feasibility of these measures, others are willing to adopt them in order to be able to reopen their business as soon as possible.
What kind of Hospitality jobs are available in this sector at the moment?
While waiters may not be in high-demand at the moment for obvious reasons, there’s a certain demand for Cooks and Hospitality Assistants in care homes.
Catering and Restaurant Manager positions are also quite sought-after. Other current job vacancies include Receptionists and Bookkeepers.