The UK’s hospitality industry pleads for immediate changes to the track and trace system
The hospitality sector has been hit hard by the pandemic with many businesses having been forced to shut and the soaring unemployment rates that followed. The struggle within the industry continues as the government’s test and trace isolation guidelines are creating a backdoor lockdown beyond 19 July.
The current rules require that employees who have been within 2 metres of a person with Covid, must stay at home for 10 days even if they have tested negative and have had the first dose of the vaccination.
Today, it has just been announced that double-vaccinated people do not have to self-isolate from 16th August. But with many UK hospitality workers under 30 and problems still arising over forcing workers to be vaccinated, how much difference will this really make to the current problem? In a statement this week Mr Javid said that daily cases “could go as high as 100,000” when restrictions are fully lifted. This has left many people feeling that the problem is far from over.
The current system in place has been said to be sending whole teams home to self-isolate, forcing businesses across the country from Edinburgh, Chester, Oxford and London to close.
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, calls for a more effective proposal to be implemented and has said, “A sensible and pragmatic approach would be to extend the ‘test to remain’ system for vaccinated staff to hospitality. That would avoid businesses being forced to close, losing thousands of pounds of revenue at a time when cash reserves are low or non-existent following 16 months of closure and punitive trading restrictions.”
In order to keep up with the demands of the unpredictable workforce, the hospitality industry has been prompting restaurants and pubs to turn to more temporary staff. This has meant that companies have ultimately been forced to increase their wages by as much as 14%.
About 400,000 people were reportedly instructed to quarantine last week by NHS test and trace or their NHS Covid app. It has also been suggested by the Adam Smith Institute ‘thinktank’, that the number of people self-isolating could rise to 1.7 million by the end of the month.
With our roadmap out of lockdown nearing its end, it is becoming more clear that it is by far the end of the journey for many within the hospitality industry. The aftermath is playing a huge role in preventing the hospitality sector from thriving once again.