What Does UK Accommodation Look Like in a Pandemic?

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Isle of WIGHT, England — A sacred ritual for millions of people in Britain, who took refuge in the warmer Mediterranean climate, has been disrupted by the pandemic for the second year in a row. Number Flights within and outside the UK Half of 2019 levels.

This year, the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England, has drawn even more visitors to its sandy beaches, seaside walks and arcades. But pandemic restrictions, staff shortages and the often uncooperative British weather are straining visitors and business owners this season.

Like many popular British resorts such as Cornwall and the Lake District National Park, the Isle of Wight shortage of workersespecially in hotels and restaurants. One problem is that people have to self-isolate for 10 days after being pinged the country’s coronavirus tracking app. This restriction may ease from Monday, as fully vaccinated people they are no longer required to be isolated if they come into contact with someone with the virus. But there are more permanent restrictions: Many workers found employment in other sectors seeking safer employment. And Brexit hasn’t helped – the pool of European Union citizens working in the UK has shrunk by the hundreds of thousands.

As a result, small businesses on the island are not taking full advantage of the visitor increase. They are wary of overexpansion and not having enough workers to meet demand. Instead, they limit how many people they serve and the hours they are open.

One of these owners is Yvonne Richardson, who opened Bellamy’s Bistro in Sandown on the southeast coast of the island 14 years ago. While dealing with a small staff, he had a busy summer.

“There are so many return visitors annually, which is very nice,” said Ms. Richardson. “There are also a lot of new people who normally go to a different place.”

Even so, with extra spaces between tables and longer turnaround times to allow more time for cleaning between diners, the restaurant is charging less than it did before the pandemic. Bellamy’s Bistro was also unable to extend its hours to accommodate the extra visitors. His kitchen runs from 10:30 to 14:30 before reopening at 17:30 for two and a half hours. The restaurant is closed on Sunday nights and all day Monday to give the team a break.

“There’s been some trouble with staff shortages everywhere,” Ms Richardson said. “We are very lucky to have our chefs come back to us every year. But hiring extra staff would be impossible.”

At Osborne House, a palatial summer residence built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the mid-19th century, visitors waited in long queues due to Covid security measures such as timed and ticketed entry.

Ms Richardson hopes that the resurgence of her stay in Britain – if it lasts – could revive Britain’s seaside towns. He also regularly vacationed in Spain, The most popular British travel destination. In 2019, UK residents had 18 million visits.

“Over the years it has gotten cheaper and cheaper to go to Spain,” he said. “But unfortunately English seaside towns have suffered for it,” he said.

West of Newport is the Calbourne Water Mill, a working flour mill with a restaurant, museum, and rental cottages. The property evokes the island’s deep history, and records show that mills have been operating on the land since time immemorial. 11th century.

The mill owner Sally Chaucer said it has been busy welcoming new and long-standing customers since it reopened in mid-July. Still, due to a smaller kitchen staff, the business has reduced their food offerings. Ms. Chaucer said it also reduces the workload of its small staff, as well as reducing the number of museum talks, so it doesn’t compete with other local businesses for workers. Admission to the mill’s property is currently half price.

The boom in accommodation made Ms. Chaucer optimistic. With new visitors exploring the island, it could expand into the winter holidays and become a wedding venue. “This is a great place to come and get away from it all,” he said.

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