A PUB near Fordingbridge has announced that it will close for a week to help the physical and mental health of staff, after “unbelievable” shortages caused exhaustion.

The Cartwheel Inn pub landlords announced that they will close on Monday, August 30 until Wednesday, September 8 so that they and their staff can “recharge [their] batteries”.

Landlord and chef Paul Somerville said that the pub has been “all go” since reopening in April and that staff shortages throughout that time has caused exhaustion.

He said: “We started to get warning signs recently when we set a holiday for October. We soon realised that it was just too far away and made the decision to bring that forward to help our mental and physical health.

“For example our chef, Ben, is extremely exhausted. He’s been working seven-day weeks for the last month or so. We have students who we want to be able to enjoy their summer after a long spell of exams and I myself have been working 80 to 90 hours a week.

Bournemouth Echo: Paul and Annette Somerville from The Cartwheel InnPaul and Annette Somerville from The Cartwheel Inn

“We can’t be good bosses if we’re tired and not at our best.

“Our staff’s well-being is at the forefront of our minds. We can’t praise them enough for their endeavour since we reopened our doors and feel that, along with ourselves, we need a little time to recharge our batteries.”

Paul also said that the pub has been searching for a relief chef all summer, but an “unbelievable” nationwide chef shortage means that they have not been able to hire anyone.

When physical dining was impossible due to the pandemic, The Cartwheel provided takeaway dinners for residents. Paul said that they made around 120 meals every week during that time.

He added: “The locals were fantastic in supporting us during lockdown, since reopening and since we announced our weeklong closure. We’re really in the middle of nowhere but certainly feel at the heart of the community.”

Following their closure, Paul announced that the pub will begin trading for five days a week instead of seven. They will trade from Wednesday to Sunday and will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Bournemouth Echo: The Cartwheel Inn pub near FordingbridgeThe Cartwheel Inn pub near Fordingbridge

Customers on the pub’s Facebook page were quick to offer support to the closure decision.

One said: “Well deserved – you kept us fed all during lockdown too.”

Another added: “Quite right. Enjoy your well-earned break. Look forward to seeing you in September.”

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics showed there were 117,000 empty hospitality roles between May and July this year, the highest number since records began in 2001.