An iconic Newquay hotel has linked up with Cornwall Council to ensure its staff have regular access to rapid Covid tests.
Ivan Curtis, general manager of the Hotel Victoria, said that the ongoing supply of Lateral Flow Tests meant outbreaks could be prevented and the business could continue to operate as efficiently as possible.
It is thought that around one in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms, meaning they can unwittingly spread the virus to others around them.
Left to right: John Tutchier – Cornwall Council, Covid-19 Response team; Ivan Curtis - Hotel Victoria, General Manager; Stephen Hick – Newquay Town Councillor.
This can have a disastrous impact on businesses as the virus can quickly spread through an entire workforce and force many to downgrade operations or close altogether.
Mr Curtis is now urging other hospitality businesses in Newquay and across Cornwall to make sure they take advantage of the support offered by the Council.
He said: “It’s an incredibly challenging time at the moment as many hotels face staff shortages as well as a huge national demand for rooms as more people choose the South West as a holiday destination.
“I would recommend any business to make sure their staff have regular access to testing as this gives them the best chance of trading as normal. It is also a strong message to staff that you are looking out for them and care about their health.”
Mr Curtis said the hotel had been hit by staff shortages earlier in the season which led to the temporary closure of two linked businesses, Senor Dick’s Mexican restaurant and Bertie’s pub.
“The hotel also had to cut down on meal service to the pub due to chefs being out of action,” he added. “We have been lucky that we have a strong team who have coped and are being rewarded with bonuses and pay rises.”
He first learned about the rapid testing support when Council Street Marshals carried out several walkabouts in Newquay to hand out Lateral Flow Tests and offer advice last month.
“All our staff now use them and we now have them available for the guests too,” Mr Curtis said.
“We have noticed that more people are starting to wear masks and follow the old guidance on social-distancing more since the publicity about high case numbers in Newquay.”
He added: “We take Covid-safety incredibly seriously for both our staff and guests but it’s now down to individuals to make sure they act responsibly and show respect to others.
“My advice for people visiting Newquay and Cornwall is to come and have a nice time, but remember the basics that kept us safe before – social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands. That’s the only way we’re going to prevent further restrictions or possibly even lockdowns.”
Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “I couldn’t agree more with what Mr Curtis has said and I would encourage businesses to take up all offers of support from the Council, whether that’s with Lateral Flow Tests or general advice on Covid-safe practices.
Find support for businesses
If your business needs Lateral Flow Tests for staff, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.