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In London, the contact case epidemic darkens the summer of restaurant owners

2021-07-23T16:31:21.078Z

One hour from the start of the service, Giuseppe Gullo is busy setting the tables, lining up the bottles on the shelves, sprinkling the peppers that decorate ...



One hour from the start of the service, Giuseppe Gullo is busy: setting the tables, lining up the bottles on the shelves, sprinkling the peppers that adorn the terrace ... The owner of Lume, a small Italian restaurant in Primrose Hill, an upscale district of London is everywhere.

For a month now, I have had to cover for all the absent,

” from the kitchen to the maintenance, says the elegant restaurateur without losing his smile.

And lately, "

someone got pinged,

" further reducing his small team, he adds.

Read also: End of restrictions: Boris Johnson is betting on vaccine and freedom

After containment and Brexit, it is the new scourge of British companies: the national tracing application sends notifications, or "

pings

", pushing hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate themselves for ten days because they are cases contact.

A phenomenon dubbed "

pingdemic

", "

pingdemia

" and which threatens to paralyze the booming economy of the Delta variant of Covid-19 across the United Kingdom.

Newspapers headline empty shelves in some supermarkets due to employee quarantines, and the government had to exempt more than 10,000 food workers from isolation on Friday on condition that they test negative daily.

Government hesitations

"

It is beyond measure, everyone is pinged

", comments Giuseppe Gullo, who also underlines the "

confusing

"

communication

of the government.

Secretary of State for Business Paul Scully recalled earlier this week that the notifications were only "

advice

" and that contact cases should show "

judgment

", before Downing Street contradicted him by saying that 'observing a quarantine upon receipt of a message was "

crucial

".

Nationwide, the economic think tank CEBR estimates the cost to the British economy of isolating hundreds of thousands of employees at 4.6 billion pounds, over the few weeks between the lifting of the last Monday. health restrictions and August 16.

From that date, the obligation to self-isolate will be lifted for people who are fully vaccinated.

Some bosses interviewed by AFP have already acknowledged encouraging their employees to come despite positive alerts.

Giuseppe Gullo says for his part that he does not want to “

put people in danger for a simple economic benefit

”.

We want our team to come to work and feel safe, in a healthy environment

”, he asserts before recalling: “

We are facing the public, I want them to know that we are following all the rules

”.

Brexit and pandemic

This decision has consequences: faced with a lack of manpower, he plans to reduce the activity of his restaurant, by closing one more day per week or by limiting services.

Because the setbacks of the hospital industry do not come down to the pingdemie: the explosive cocktail of the pandemic and Brexit, which increased supply costs and discouraged many foreign workers from coming to the United Kingdom, had a devastating effect.

According to a study published by three industry associations, including UKHospitality, all of the companies surveyed say they are currently looking for staff, and more than 200,000 employees are missing for UK restaurants and pubs to operate at full capacity.

"

The pandemic made people realize that they could change industries easily,

" says Giuseppe Gullo, as two members of his small team of eight returned to live in Italy.

We are very worried.

I have a good team, but if some leave the restaurant, we will have a hard time hiring,

”he adds.

When it reopened at the end of May, he immediately felt that the recovery would be difficult: "

all the restaurateurs were called to find chefs, waiters ...

", he recalls.

Read also: Covid-19: in the United Kingdom, the disease-death link is broken

According to him, the CVs he received in his 15-year career in London came from all over Western Europe: France, Italy, Spain ... But never from the British.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2021-07-23

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