Ping threat to staycations: Tourism, hospitality and rail bosses despair as they are forced to close due to staff self-isolating during the pingdemic
- Businesses across the UK are being forced to close because of the pingdemic
- Millions of families are set to embark on holidays in the UK this weekend
- In Torbay, Devon, 10% of businesses have closed due to staff being ‘pinged’
Hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and rail lines are being forced to close because of the pingdemic – leaving staycations in crisis.
Millions of families are set to embark on holidays in the UK this weekend, but the wave of closures threatens to throw their plans into chaos.
As rail operators across the country announced sweeping cancellations, business owners last night warned the crisis could be the ‘final straw’.
In the popular staycation destination of Torbay, Devon, an astonishing 10 per cent of businesses have closed due to staff being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app.
Carolyn Custerson, head of the English Riviera Bid which represents the tourism industry in Torbay, said: ‘We are in a crisis as regards to staffing. I think the Government has been really short-sighted. We are really quite angry.’ Travellers across the country face further chaos amid warnings that hundreds of trains could be cancelled this weekend and next week.
Millions of families are set to embark on holidays in the UK this weekend, but the wave of closures to hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and rail lines threatens to throw their plans into chaos (Pictured: People gather on the beach at Sennen Cove in Cornwall in June this year)
An estimated 1,200 of the country’s 25,000 train drivers are isolating, with 300 London Underground staff affected and the Circle and Hammersmith and City Tube lines shut this weekend.
The shortages have seen rail operators Thameslink and Southern cut weekday timetables on five routes from Monday ‘until further notice’. Network Rail said that train crew shortages now account for around 40 per cent of all cancellations, compared with around 15 per cent before the pingdemic.
Business owners pinning their hopes on a ‘staycation boom’ yesterday told of their despair.
Torquay’s Babbacombe Theatre was this week forced to close for ten days with the cast of 12 isolating. Owner Colin Matthews said: ‘This was the week we were going to be able to go back to full capacity but instead of getting back into profit we have gone backwards.’
Blue bars show the number of ‘pings’ sent by the NHS app each week; red bars show the number of people contacted by Test and Trace call handlers; and yellow bars show the number of people who tested positive for Covid
Helen Heraty, owner of the award-winning Grays Court Hotel and The Bow Room Restaurant in York, has closed the business after nine of her 22 staff were told to isolate, cancelling 100 bookings.
She said: ‘All of the gains made over the last few weeks were stripped away. We just scraped through the pandemic after not trading for seven months. It will be the final straw for a lot of businesses.’
Fran Collins, chief executive of Red Funnel which runs ferries between the south coast and the Isle of Wight, said the pingdemic was causing mayhem for people heading there for a holiday.
She said: ‘Currently 30 per cent of our operational staff are unable to work, with many team members self-isolating.’
Data shows 600,000 alerts were sent by the NHS app in the week ending July 14, a 17 per cent rise increase on the previous seven days and another record high. The red line show the cumulative number of tracing alerts sent throughout the pandemic, while the blue bars represent the number each week