14 staff at Leeds club 'pinged' by NHS Covid app but none tested positive

The owner of the Brudenell Social Club in Burley said 14 staff members were off work last week after receiving Covid isolation notifications, but none later tested positive.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 4:45 am
Nathan Clark at Brudenell Social Club Photo: Steve Riding

Nathan Clark said high numbers of notifications from the NHS Covid19 app is leading to staff being off work unnecessarily - adding to a wide range of staffing problems faced by the hospitality industry.

Bars and restaurants across Leeds are having to cope with a string of problems getting enough staff working ahead of the proposed lifting of restrictions later this month.

Mr Clark said 14 of his 37 staff were unable to work last week at a time when higher staff numbers are needed due to table service.

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Brudenell Social Club

He said the unpredictability of the track and trace system means he cannot plan ahead.

Mr Clark said on some occasions he has had to limit the number of customers at the club, not because of social distancing, but because there hasn't been enough staff to serve them.

Mr Clark also said the number of days staff are being asked to isolate is "completely random."

He said from Sunday June 27 to Friday July 2, 14 staff members received isolation notifications, adding: "Not one of them tested positive afterwards."

Mr Clark said: "I can order all the stock I can manage. I can have the busiest Saturday lunch lined up. But it could all get cancelled through several staff suddenly getting pinged on the day.

"It is unpredictable. In hospitality the majority of the workers are younger people and they are the last to be vaccinated. They are the ones that haven't been double vaccinated.

"It feels like at the moment we are having to have twice as many staff to deliver Covid safe measures but the unpredictability means you can't plan effectively for a rota because you don't know if they are going to be there."

Martin Greenhow managing director of Mojo Bar on Merrion Street, said: "There are people on furlough who don't want to go back to work.

"We have an issue with people who are repatriated due to Brexit and Covid.

"One of the biggest things we are seeing at the moment is the staffing shortage is being exacerbated by people having to isolate.

"We are already running on bare bones and countless numbers of hospitality staff are being asked to isolate for Covid.

"That just puts greater stress on trying to cover shifts and keep places open.

"We are already stressed. Everybody is having to operate a different business model due to covid restrictions, with table service and ensuring people stay seated.All of that demands manpower."

Mr Greenhow said the business, which also runs bars in Harrogate, Manchester Liverpool and Nottingham, is having to limit opening hours from time to time.

He said: "On Friday in Harrogate we couldn't open in the day due to a member of staff isolating."

Mr Greenhow added: "A lot of people have decided they don't want to work in hospitality anymore.

He said there are problems recruiting bar staff, chefs and waiters, adding: "Door security staff are in very short supply at the moment.

"Maybe they have found something else to do during the day and are comfortable with that and are reluctant to come back."

Mr Greenhow said there are also problems with deliveries from wholesalers who are struggling to recruit drivers due to Covid and Brexit.

He said: "We all need to get back to normality."

The government says self-isolation remains an essential part of the effort to control the spread of the virus.