How do hospitality workers feel about returning to business?

More than two thirds of hospitality workers in the UK are concerned for their own safety as venues reopen in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to one survey, but another study shows things are working well.

A survey carried out earlier this month has found that, although revenues for hospitality businesses are far below normal, social distancing in the workplace is running smoothly.

The survey, which took in the members of the Hospitality Professionals Association, found that almost all (97%) operators felt that their safety procedures were working, while 94% felt that guests followed their new social distancing and hygiene rules.

Many sites have had to reduce their cover capacity in order to make sure their is enough distance between tables and keep guests safe. Close to half (49%) of respondents said they were operating at between 50% and 75% of their normal capacity, with 34% operating between 25% and 50%. This has, naturally, led to a fall in sales. More than two thirds of members (67%) said their revenues were down by more than 50% in the first weeks of opening.

Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, said: “With safety measures (so far) seeming to work, and guests (so far) seeming to abide by them, we’re hoping that, as an industry, we can build on this initial positivity to try and bounce back – with recent government initiatives also helping us in this.”

But despite signs that things are working well, and footfall is down, another survey shows workers are still worried for their own wellbeing.

Some 63% of people working in catering are concerned about social distancing in the workplace, while 69% said they were “very concerned” about the safety of themselves and of colleagues. Just under two thirds (64.5%) said they were concerned for guests’ wellbeing.

The survey, carried out by online learning platform Virtual College, took in responses from 350 people working in catering, food manufacture, and retail.

Just over a quarter (27%) of retail workers said they felt that their employer is not prepared to return to work safely, while 58% are very concerned about the safety of themselves and colleagues.

“Virtual College reached out to obtain the views of people working in the food industry to ensure the online training we provide is tailored to the immediate needs of our customers,” said Peter Hilliard, Virtual College’s marketing manager.

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