The hospitality sector was one of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic, but even with restrictions being lifted, some restaurants in London are still being forced to close.
Venues have said they are struggling to recruit enough staff to deal with post-pandemic demand, with vacancies in pubs and restaurant at an all-time high since records began.
One of these affected is Mauro Sanna, the owner of Olivo, a chain of Sardinian restaurants in Westminster.
Like others in the area, he saw a surge in demand after the easing of Covid restrictions, yet Mr Sanna said he was having to close his restaurants due to staff shortages.
“Normally my restaurants are open seven-days-a-week,” he said speaking from one of his restaurants in Belgravia.
“But at the moment, two of my restaurants are shut for two days to give staff a rest.”
Despite the resurgence in demand following the easing of restrictions, Mr Sanna said he’s found himself in a difficult situation, unable to fill positions.
“Believe it or not, we are full blown and busy – and it’s great,” he said.
“But, I’d much prefer to have less money and have more staff. Because with less staff, I have a lot of hassle and stress.”
A new £1m scheme, funded by Westminster City Council, has been set up to try and fill jobs in the hospitality sector.
The New West End Company and the Knightsbridge Partnership – which represent about 900 businesses in London – aim to recruit 2,200 employees over the next two years, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
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