Last week the Government announced the introduction of a limited new scheme allowing some double-jabbed food workers to avoid self-isolation.
However, hospitality workers will not be exempt under the scheme if they are ‘pinged’, meaning those deemed to be close contacts of someone who tests positive for Coronavirus by the NHS Covid app should isolate for up to 10 days; although this is not a legal requirement.
Up to a fifth of staff in the sector are isolating at any one time, according to recent research.
“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," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.
"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.”
There are plans to end self-isolation for the double-jabbed and under-18s from August 16 if they test negative for Covid-19.
The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has proposed a new process to guide businesses struggling to cope with the so-called ‘pingdemic’.
The process is a practical flowchart that employers can follow to assess the risk to staff while waiting for test results from colleagues with symptoms.
It categorises staff as 'no risk', 'definite risk' and 'potential risk' based on a series of prompts such as vaccination history; if they have had Covid; and how closely they work with others. It then provides recommend actions for each category.