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East Midlands Chamber News

More businesses than narrow set of critical industries should be made exempt from self-isolation rules as ‘pingdemic’ causes huge disruption, says East Midlands Chamber

Responding to an update on possible self-isolation exemptions for key workers in critical services, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “New measures that enable critical workers in certain situations, such as food manufacturing and supermarket depots, to be exempt from self-isolation rules will be a relief to some businesses that have been severely hampered by employee absences.

“However, it still leaves many more firms facing critical staff shortages and lost revenue as the number of people being asked to isolate remains high during the so-called ‘pingdemic’. It’s also resulting in significant uncertainty on a day-to-day basis and confusion within the workforce, which clearly isn’t a sustainable approach to running a business.

“Nearly half the firms surveyed by the British Chambers of Commerce this week have had staff either off sick with Covid or self-isolating in the past two weeks. Companies want to play their part in stopping the spread of the virus while at the same time striving to revive their business after 16 months of disruption and closures.

“As the pandemic evolves, so should our response and we believe it’s time to immediately adapt the test and trace system to recognise the new reality we are in, rather than waiting until the 16 August date for changing these rules.

“Pilot schemes for ‘test to release’ options have been running for some time now and we would urge the Government to immediately bring forward the results of those test schemes and set out how this could be used to enable more double-vaccinated people to avoid self-isolation beyond this narrow group of critical workers.”