Staff shortages in Southwold as workers isolate after Latitude Festival
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Southwold businesses have been hit by staff shortages due to Covid - with some linking the cases to the recent Latitude Festival.
Around 40,000 festival-goers descended on Henham Park at the end of last month as Latitude was a test event for the reopening of large-scale gatherings.
Attendees were required to have either had two Covid vaccines or tested negative to gain entry, but public health bosses later warned the festival could lead to 400 new infections.
Hannah Wright, Southwold's town development manager, said around a third of the businesses in the resort have been left short-staffed as cases and close contacts have been identified since the festival.
Mrs Wright did not point the finger of blame at Latitude organisers Festival Republic but wanted to highlight the event's impact in the busy tourism season.
She said: "The knock-on effect is that one person goes to Latitude, tests positive and then it affects local businesses. It's too coincidental that there's lots of people off.
"It was meant to be a test scheme and you'd think there would be mitigation.
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"Unfortunately, we've got places in the town that are 50% down on their staff. It's very challenging for them.
"From this, we need to realise when we do big events you need to think about how businesses cope with it.
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"This is a town that relies on six weeks in the summer."
Nick Attfield, director of properties at Adnams, said the brewer's Lord Nelson pub and Crown and Swan hotels had all been hit by staff isolation issues.
He said: "At Adnams, we're huge fans of Latitude and what it brings to our local economy.
"We and a few other businesses are experiencing staff shortages. We believe there is a link to Latitude.
"Unfortunately, a few people have tested positive. Because of the nature of our business, just a few cases mean we lose quite a considerable number.
"It's frustrating for us as August is one of our most important months. We're losing tens of thousands of pounds in revenue.
"This isn't a blame game - it's letting people know this is having an impact."
Festival Republic was approached for comment.