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Business / Kveldsro Hotel unable to reopen due to staff shortages

Photo: Jim Mullay for Shetland News

A LERWICK hotel will continue to stay closed for the foreseeable future due to the lack of staff working in the hospitality sector.

Robert Smith, the managing director of the Brudolff Hotels group, which also owns the Shetland and the Lerwick hotels, said the company took the opportunity to extensively refurbish the hotel during the Covid pandemic.

But because of the shortage of people working in hospitality, caused mainly by Brexit and exacerbated by the aftermath of the pandemic, the luxury hotel has so far been unable to re-open.

Smith said he would need to employ at least 12 people to form a basic team to run the 17-bedroom hotel in Lerwick.

“I am very pleased with the result [of the makeover], and the ‘new’ Kveldsro is ready to fit in at the upper end of the market again,” he said.

“But….and it’s a big ‘but’…we have been unable to reopen as planned earlier this year because of staff shortages.

“We are short staffed in the other two hotels in what is proving to be a very busy summer, and it would be impossible to reallocate staff from where they are.”

Smith added that the company was short of a further 10 staff between its other two hotels in Lerwick.

Staff shortages is affecting the entire hospitably sector, not just in Shetland but across the UK.

Recent official UK figures indicate that there are more than 174,000 jobs available across the sector.

“I don’t see any short-term answer,” Smith said, “until the government finally realises that we do need overseas staff to help make up the numbers.

“As it stands, we are not allowed to employ anyone from overseas, Europe or otherwise; but that needs to change.”

Over a nine-month period from October 2020 the hotel was given a “complete makeover” in all the ground floor public areas and the bedroom corridors, as equipment in the bedrooms were also upgraded, Smith said.

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The work was carried out mainly by local companies, including G&S Flooring, Frank Williamson and George Robertson.

“We always ‘shop local’ when we can. We also have some lovely prints of local scenes from a local artist who was happy to help us with that,” he said.

“We are keen indeed to reopen the Kveldsro as soon as staffing levels allow, and excited to show our changes to our customers.”

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