The hospitality sector is struggling and resourcing staff for kitchens, bars, and restaurants, is causing some pubs and bistros to close early and, in some cases, completely.
The double whammy of both Brexit and the pandemic has seen many seasonal and semi-permanent workers return to their resident country and not return.
“Combined with travel restrictions, isolation requirements, and locals not wanting to work in our industry, it’s a nightmare!” said Randalls Area Manager, Shannon Wilson.
“We are struggling to get staff over thanks to Brexit and the new visa system – we used to get workers over from Europe within a week, now it takes eight weeks,” she said, referring to EU nationals now required to apply for a visa to enter the UK or Crown Dependencies, following the UK’s split from the EU.
“We are getting more and more people on work permits from Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa – but by the time they get here the season will be over.”
Pictured: Randalls Ltd operates numerous restaurants on the island, including the Rockmount and the Slaughterhouse.
The CEO of the Liberation Group said the hospitality industry is facing difficulty across the British Isles, but the problems appear to be more acute in Guernsey.
“We operate in the UK, Jersey, and Guernsey,” said Jonathon Lawson, “and we have experienced for some time that recruitment in the hospitality industry is quite challenging in all of those markets.”
“That allows me to say that what I’m seeing in Guernsey at the moment is quite a degree more severe than in our other markets."
Pictured: Dix Neuf is one restaurant within the Liberation Group.
Mr Lawson said the issues are being exacerbated by an increase in demand, which is pushing some businesses to breaking point.
“We’re seeing tourists back on the island, which is great news, but the key is whether or not we can supply that demand.
“The resourcing challenges that we now have are impacting hospitalities’ ability to deliver in terms of number of trading hours, trading days, or even opening at all,” he said.
Mr Lawson contacted the States of Guernsey with his concerns, arguing that "it’s a much bigger issue than just saying recruitment is tough.”
“I think Guernsey is at risk now of missing out on investment into the island because of a lack of confidence in being able to actually resource those businesses if we invest into them," he said
“The situation is really quite severe on the island right now.”