While the hospitality industry shuts up shop, openings are being created elsewhere

Following the recent stocking up / panic buying (delete as you see fit) leading up to the inevitable announcement of total UK lockdown, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the top retail dogs realised that repurposing café staff to work on the shop floor to help replenish supermarket shelves wouldn’t be enough to meet demand.

We need you and would be thrilled to provide you with a new opportunity

Even before the official closure of bars, cafes and restaurants at midnight on Friday, hospitality industry employees were finding themselves suddenly laid off or facing seriously reduced hours. In total contrast, food and drink retailers were encountering increased customer footfall and virtual throughflow while, at the same time, experiencing staff shortages as people began to self-isolate.

To help counteract the serious economic effects of the pandemic, as early as Thursday, Co-op Food had created 5000 temporary store-based roles. Previous even to that, Morrisons was advertising for 3500 people to fill roles as customer assistants, delivery drivers, store pickers and distribution centre workers. Both chains had simplified their application processes in order to take on new recruits as quickly as possible, with Morrisons' website encouraging interested parties to just pop in: “If you’re looking for temporary in store roles please drop into your local store with your right to work documents.”

2020 03 24 Job Vacancies Retail Graduate Chloe
Morrisons are looking for 3500 staff members to join their team

But you have to be quick, as both Waitrose and John Lewis, who were looking for night replenishment supermarket assistants in Cheadle and Gatley respectively, warned in their ads on Totaljobs last week: 'Please note we reserve the right to close the vacancy early in light of a large response.'

Also stepping up to the mark was Lidl, announcing plans to recruit 2500 workers on four-week contracts to help keep up with high customer demand and 'keep the store clean, tidy and the shelves well stocked so that customers can get the products they need.' 

11 11 10 Asda Equal Pay Case

Asda committed to hiring more than 5000 employees, offering shifts or temporary secondments to Asda roles, and using café and restaurant resources to help feed employees who are working to keep shelves stocked. Again, the message was for people to get in touch with their local store about job opportunities.

Fulfilling online orders will continue to be a priority going forward, and not just for fresh food. Amazon – who claim to have 'taken measures to promote social distancing in the workplace and taken on enhanced and frequent cleaning' – have been on the lookout for warehouse operatives in Trafford Park, while another multinational, The Hut Group (THG), is creating more than 500 permanent positions across manufacturing, fulfilment and logistics to meet the surge in demand for its health, beauty and nutrition products distributed across the UK via its Warrington centre. 

THG founder and chief executive, Lancashire-born Matthew Moulding said: “We are bringing forward our recruitment plans. We need you and would be thrilled to provide you with a new opportunity at this incredibly challenging time.”

2020 03 24 Job Vacancies The Hut Group Ceo Matthew Moulding
The Hut Group CEO Matthew Moulding

These jobs should not be affected by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on Monday 23rd March, when the UK was put into full coronavirus lockdown. The new rules stated that while leaving home was to be banned, “The public will be allowed to leave home for work but only if that work cannot be carried out at home”. The rules will apply for a three-week period before being reviewed by the government.

As the government’s response to the crisis develops on a day-by-day basis, no-one can be sure what will happen next; however, The Guardian has reported that farmers have called for a ‘land army’ to be trained to help harvest crops in the coming weeks and months, while fit and able individuals are currently being sought to help with deliveries to the over-70s and vulnerable. 

Nearer home, in the last 24 hours, 'Manchester’s favourite Cantonese restaurant,' Yang Sing tweeted that they are looking for healthy driver’s licence-holders to help daily 12-1.30pm with dropping off orders to the 'elders in our community who are self isolating (…) to ensure that our seniors aren’t taking trips out unnecessarily.' Still retaining a sense of humour, Yang Sing continues: 'You absolutely should wear your pants over your jeans.' Not all heroes wear capes.

Read more: From 'paying it forward' to volunteering - How you can help