Hospitality not included in isolation exemption
Food production and supply workers can apply to be exempt from self-isolation rules, but hospitality has not been included on the government's list.
Sectors including energy, waste, water, essential transport and emergency services have been included on a list published by the government where, if employers believe the self-isolation of certain key employees as contacts would result in serious disruption to critical services, they can request an exemption.
Across the UK, sectors including hospitality have warned of severe disruption to services due to high numbers of people being notified by the NHS Test and Trace app. Around one in five hospitality staff are self-isolating due to rules around coronavirus contact tracing, according to UKHospitality, which could soon rise to one-third, with businesses struggling to staff their venues and some have even been forced to reduce hours or close altogether.
The rules will change from 16 August, which will end quarantine requirements in England for fully vaccinated people who have been a contact of someone with Covid-19. However, around 60% of the hospitality workforce is under 30 years old and may not have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated by this point.
Speaking to Sky News, environment secretary George Eustice said: "We are obviously keeping everything under review."
He added: "I know it's frustrating for everybody but we do want to try to just dampen the curve of this infection, until it turns and things start to go in the other direction."
UKHospitality's chief executive Kate Nicholls, said: "It is disappointing that the government has drawn the list of roles so tightly and left hospitality and the rest of the economy to face the consequences. We now face a summer of venue closures and reduced service, when we should be at a seasonal peak. The sector will do all it can to provide great service, but it will be with one hand tied behind our back.
"We all want to stop the spread of the virus, but we need a more pragmatic solution from government. Those who are fully vaccinated should be able to test after a ping and, subject to a negative result, carry on with their lives. For those not fully vaccinated, two negative tests should be sufficient to return to work."
The Food and Drink Federation's chief executive Ian Wright said the inclusion of food and drink manufacturers was welcome but added: "The devil is in the detail so we will continue to look into the guidance and further understand how the scheme will work."
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