The big wave of covid illness has hit the business

Retailers, hospitality groups and housebuilders are under pressure due to the absence of covid-related staff.

Businesses across various sectors are being hampered by workers infected with the virus after a record number of infections were recorded in the UK last month.

Moss Bros., a retailer of men’s clothing, has reduced the opening hours of some of its 130 stores as a result of positive testing for staff covid.

UK Hospitality says its members are beginning to experience increased absences due to illness, exacerbating the underlying staff shortage. “The situation is not as serious as it was last summer, or just before Christmas, but absences have begun to persist and have become a source of challenge.”

Kate Nichols, chief executive, said a quarter of its members adjusted their opening hours in February because of staff shortages, which saw sales fall between 17 percent and 20 percent. He said the increase in infections, coupled with the crisis of life, was contributing to the decline in consumer demand.

The Home Builders Federation said its members were “experiencing a high level of absence as a result of Covid, which inevitably has affected some build programs.”

In the week ending March 26, covid infections in the UK reached record highs, with 4.9 million people infected with the virus, according to the Office for National Statistics.

EasyJet and British Airways have blamed Covid’s staff for the cancellation of hundreds of flights over the weekend.

The Federation of Small Business reports that almost one in seven businesses is not doing business completely. Martin McTagg, chairman, said: “Rising input costs are hitting the backdrop of supply chain disruptions and massive labor shortages. Smaller companies are not like big corporates, they don’t have big teams that can easily re-employ staff when team members are off.”

Randox, the auditor of PWC, a private diagnostic company, and his own finance team suffered losses in the absence of Covid-related, delaying the results of his audited account by two months.

The Knights Group, a regional law firm, said last month that the prolonged absence of lawyers in its office because of Kovid was a cause for concern for a large profit. It said his lawyers were excluded from the “benefits of our team-based culture” as soon as they were expected to return to office.

Some manufacturers report absences of up to 10 percent of their workforce. However, they said the disruption was less than it was during last summer’s “Pingdemic”, when the NHS asked people who came in contact with an infected person to self-isolate.

Mac UK, an industry body, said its members were reporting higher levels of covid cases than at any time since the epidemic began.

“However, so far, the same amount of absenteeism has not been translated as there is no need to lay off employees last summer,” a spokesman added.

Albert Ellis, chief executive of Staffline, a provider of temporary staff, said it had seen demand from food manufacturers and logistics firms related to the absence of Kovid.

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