Yesterday (13 January), Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that individuals will be able to leave their isolation five full days after experiencing symptoms or receiving a positive test result, whichever is first, provided they have negative lateral flow tests on days five and six.
The change will come into effect on Monday (17 January).
Javid said: "These two tests are critical to these balanced and proportionate plans, and I'd urge everyone to take advantage of the capacity we have built up in tests, so we can restore the freedoms to this country while we're keeping everyone safe."
Earlier this week the Night Time Industries Association, which represents some 1,400 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK, put out a call for the Government to relax the self-isolation rules to help businesses wrestling with crippling staff shortages.
BigHospitality recently reported that absences by hospitality staff in self-isolation have been rocketing in recent weeks with operators losing thousands of pounds in revenue as a result.
Responding to the Health Secretary's announcement, Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, said: “This is a step in the right direction, and will without a doubt stem some of the issues, but will need further consideration as we move towards busier periods.”
Kill went on to add that businesses are still suffering from the legacy of a devastating festive trading period.
“The Government must consider further reductions in mitigations, particularly Covid [vaccine] passports over the coming weeks. The Chancellor must also consider an extension of VAT and business rates relief, factoring in the current extended recovery period following the festive trade losses.”
Reacting to the decision, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), added that while the change in self-isolation rules will go some way to alleviating the pressure on staff numbers, operators still face uncertainty while Plan B restrictions remain in place.
"We urge the Government to provide clarity on next steps, which will enable pubs and the brewers that supply them to plan for the future,” she said.