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Almost half of hospitality workers remain on furlough

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Around 43% of hospitality workers remain on furlough, according to new data from Fourth.

The study, from Fourth and Wireless Social, also showed that there has been an 18% drop in overall staff headcount compared to September last year, equating to 500,000 people losing their job in the sector since January.

Despite momentum generated by August’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, UK footfall dropped to 46% below the pre-Covid average on the weekend of October 3 – a 4 percentage point decrease compared to the previous weekend.

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Fourth’s data, which has been aggregated from analysis of over 700 companies across the hotel, restaurant, pub, bar and QSR sectors, found that the hotel sector had the greatest fall in headcount compared to September last year, with a 20% reduction.

The pub sector workforce was 15% lower in September, compared to the previous year.

The total number of hours worked across the sector in September was 20,283,957, which is in line with the hours recorded in August – but 48% down when compared to September last year.

The QSR and hotel sectors recorded higher levels of activity compared to August, increasing by 3% and 6% respectively.

The pub sector saw an 8% reduction in hours worked compared to August, while restaurant hours were down by 2%.

The data also provides insight into regions that have been placed under local lockdowns and the impact that this has had on hospitality footfall. Visitor traffic in Liverpool dropped to 60% below the pre-COVID average on Saturday 3rd October, the lowest footfall has been since the hospitality sector began reopening in July. This is mirrored by Manchester where traffic was 55% below the average over the same weekend.

Sebastien Sepierre, managing director – EMEA, Fourth, said: “September has been incredibly tough for hospitality businesses, as the sector has been hit by further challenging restrictions that have impacted trading and consumer confidence. The fact that nearly half of the workforce remain on furlough, with the closure of the scheme on 31st October is concerning.”

Julian Ross, CEO of Wireless Social, said: “The fact that nationwide footfall remained consistent throughout September was an encouraging sign for our industry, however the latest round of Government restrictions and the threat of more to come could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some businesses. Our footfall data reveals the impact that these restrictions, with seemingly little scientific evidence to justify them, have had on visitor traffic particularly at a time when businesses require as much support as possible.”

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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