Coronavirus: 10pm curfew pushes UK hospitality jobs into 'freefall'

·3 min read
Close up attractive waitress wearing black apron standing in cozy coffeehouse, female cafe worker with notebook in hands waiting for, ready to take customers, guests order in restaurant
New job postings in the hospitality and tourism sector have fallen by a further 9% since the 10pm curfew was introduced. Photo: Getty

Job vacancies in the hospitality and food service industries have been pushed into “freefall” since the 10pm curfew was imposed on the UK’s pubs and restaurants.

According to new data from job site Indeed, new job postings in the hospitality and tourism sector have fallen by a further 9% since the 10pm curfew was introduced on 24 September, having dropped by 61% since the end of August.

Hiring in the food preparation and service sector has declined by a further 11% since the curfew, after falling by a quarter (26%) since the end of August.

Scotland’s new restrictions are set to further impact jobseekers in the hospitality industry.

On Wednesday, first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new measures for Scotland, including pub closures for parts of the country, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, from Friday. Pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to serve alcohol indoors for 16 days, although they will be allowed to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks inside from 6am to 6pm. They can continue to serve alcohol outdoors up to the current curfew of 10pm.

READ MORE: Greene King to cut around 800 jobs and shut 79 pubs following 10pm curfew

The UK parliament is expected to vote next week on whether to keep England’s 10pm curfew in place.

The number of jobs in hospitality plummeted harder and faster than those in other industries at the start of lockdown before hiring levels jumped in August as the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme sent Brits flocking to pubs and restaurants.

Between Saturday 4 July, when venues were allowed to re-open, and the end of August, the number of new job openings in hospitality and tourism skyrocketed by 159%. Jobs in food preparation and service rose by 122%.

Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed, said: “This summer’s encouraging signs of recovery in the food, drink and hospitality sectors slipped into reverse after the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme finished at the end of August.

READ MORE: Four-in-five UK businesses fear losing top talent

“Since the imposition of a nationwide 10pm curfew a fortnight ago, the number of new vacancies has tipped into freefall.

“The industry is now braced for even more pain, with Scotland ordering the temporary closure of some pubs and banning the serving of alcohol indoors at those that can remain open.

“At their lowest point during lockdown, new job postings in these sectors were down 95% compared to their 2019 level. Progress has been made since then, but the gradual ratcheting up of restrictions — even though they still fall short of a second lockdown — has curtailed employers’ hiring intentions.

“Hiring levels continue to improve across the wider economy, but for Britain’s hardest-hit sectors it feels like a case of one step forward and two steps back.”

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