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The UK's current surge in Covid infections is causing businesses in the hospitality sector to close down with entire teams of workers sent home to isolate after getting notifications on the NHS app.
Restaurants, pubs and bars have called on the government to quickly create a “test and release” scheme that would allow them to stay open.
With the daily number of infections now above 20,000, businesses are under pressure as staff have to remain at home for 10 days if one tests positive for Covid 19.
According to chief executive of UK Hospitality Kate Nicholls the trade body has been engaging with ministers for a fortnight over changing the rules.
She wrote on Twitter: “Being contacted by lots of businesses reporting blanket notifications of entire teams, meaning no option but to fully close for 10 days with no revenue. We urgently need a test-to-release-and-test-to-remain approach to allow hospitality to continue operating.”
Nicholls added: “We have called for urgent clarification of isolation policy to reflect the enormous success of its vaccine rollout. Following a positive case, the current NHS test and trace system issues a blanket notice to anyone registered as working at a venue, regardless of whether they were on shift at the same time, in which section of the venue they work, or their vaccination status.
“This forces already struggling hospitality businesses to shut their doors, and can result in whole teams needing to self-isolate.”
A better approach, she said, would be to extend the “test to remain” system for vaccinated staff used in schools to hospitality.
Chairman of bar and restaurant group