So the Pandemic battles goes on - and now we can't find enough workers

Torbay Weekly

Had to raise a smile at the notice outside the Ship Inn in Paignton. "Attention" it said "By order of Prime  Minister Boris Johnson. Restrictions will remain in place another month. No standing while drinking. Masks to be worn. Social distance and observe the rule of 6."

Then, referring to a picture in the middle of the notice, it  goes on to say: "Boris is the blonde chap in the picture standing up drinking without a mask huddled together with 30 other people. Thank You"

You really couldn't make it up. The pub management were referring to a well-publicised shot of our dear Premier relaxing with the rest of the world's leaders at the G7 Summit in holiday hotspot Carbis Bay in Cornwall - Cornwall the county where the Delta variant is now rampant and one of the reasons so-called Freedom Day has been put back by another month. If we are lucky!

It is case of smiling or crying...

The pandemic is still far from over and is continuing to cause carnage in more ways than one. Thankfully we have the vaccine on our side in this never-ending battle against the silent, invisible and deadly killer.

But that doesn't stop more and more people that you know catching the bug and everyday life not going back to how it was. I can't see that happening for a long, long time.

Meeting up with friends and family is a no-no - my family from the north have just cancelled a mini-break in Torquay because an alert up there - clubs are closed and many pubs aren't open because it's not worth it; theatres and attractions are hanging in there as social distancing reduces entry numbers and you still can't bid a proper farewell to loved ones at funerals.

And now those businesses who have survived and are operating are facing another potentially fatal dilemma - finding people to work for them.

Some have had to reduce opening hours or not open at all. Others are  having to offer huge cash bonuses  to encourage people to stay on and work

Thousands of people in the Bay are still on furlough. Others have changed job for more secure positions. Some simply just don't want to work.

One of the sectors hardest is tourism and hospitality - the very same sector that took an almighty battering from Covid in the first place.

Crisis meetings are being held in the Bay and further afield. This isn't just a local issue, although our plight has been raised nationally.

Baroness Doocey, tourism spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, asked for a few pointers from the Bay to raise in a tourism debate in the House of Lords today (June 24).

Torbay Council leader and Lib Dem Steve Darling has responded. He has written: "Torbay Development Agency and the English Riviera BID Company are reporting more and more issues regarding staff recruitment.

"These issues aren’t unique to the tourism and hospitality sector or Torbay, but as the sector is still reopening from Lockdown we are only just starting to see these issues coming through. Put simply, there aren’t enough people coming forward to fill the seasonal and full time permanent job vacancies."

He blames three factors - furlough, life changes and EU/Brexit.

Cllr Darling says: "Many people have been on Furlough for such a long time over the past 12 months (or longer) that they have sourced alternative employment, including changing careers for a better work life balance, or started up their own business.

"Many may see tourism and hospitality as too unstable, too risky and have left the industry to work in other sectors.

"People aren’t returning back to the UK to work, even when offered a job position and there are also reduced levels of students, International and domestic currently unavailable for seasonal jobs."

He says a national campaign is needed.

Something is needed for sure. Perhaps a large one of what Boris was drinking in Carbis Bay.