"Our workers are only human" Blackpool's stricken hospitality venues call for kindness as staff face abuse from customers amid Covid confusion

Bosses at resort venue Viva have spoken out to protect hospitality employees who have been subject to repeated abuse since returning to work after the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 4:38 pm
Viva show venue are currently recruiting for more staff to serve in the bar and restaurant.
Viva show venue are currently recruiting for more staff to serve in the bar and restaurant.

There have been numerous reports of workers being confronted by aggressive customers angry at longer waiting times for food and drink.

It comes as leisure bosses revealed they are also suffering a “severe” shortage of staff, as many businesses struggle to re-adjust with the lifting of Covid restrictions.

Blackpool welcomed scores of visitors for the half term break and Viva managing director Martin Heywood said whilst the team loved seeing guests returning, it had been “heartbreaking” to witness abuse towards workers.

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The team at Viva were delighted to enjoy a series of sell-out shows following their reopening but say frustrations with new guidelines has led to angry customers abusing staff

He said frustrations with table service – a requirement under the reopening rules – had led to customers swearing and tearing down their “hard-working staff”.

He added: “Reading negative reviews about staff and wait times across the industry is heartbreaking.

“This is not just about our restaurant and bar but a collective shout-out to the already stretched hospitality industry as a whole.

“We’ve had customers swear and be abusive to our staff, as have other venues because they’ve had to wait for their food or drinks.“We know it can be frustrating but please try and be patient and understanding.

“We are going as fast as we possibly can.”

Martin said the “furlough hangover” has had a direct effect on recruitment, with many leaving the industry and Viva’s already over-stretched team has had to learn a number of new systems to meet the Covid guidelines.

He said: “There is a severe national hospitality staffing crisis, meaning many places including ours are under staffed to cope with the sheer amount of customers.

“At Viva and in other venues too, we’re constantly adapting and trying new things such as opening at reduced capacity, reduced menu offering, encouraging pre-visit drinks ordering, and introducing digital mobile ordering to give our customers the best and most efficient service possible, whilst not draining our much-loved and appreciated employees.”

Bosses on Blackpool’s piers echoed Martin’s sentiments after reporting similar issues.The resort enjoyed a bumper bank holiday and half-term break, with crowds enjoying the sunshine by the seaside.