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Self-isolation rules discriminate against young workers

Published:  07 July, 2021

UK Hospitality (UKH) has warned that delays to the end of self-isolation rules will put additional pressures on a hospitality industry which is being crippled by staff shortages, as the government confirmed that rules around isolating at home for those who aren’t double-jabbed will continue until next month.

It was hoped that rules around self-isolation would be scrapped sooner. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the government would be going ahead with the end of restrictions on 19 July. However, for those who come into contact with Covid and are not fully vaccinated, they will be legally compelled to self-isolate at home for 10 days until mid-August.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKH said yesterday’s announcement “doesn’t go far enough, quickly enough. The sector is experiencing severe staff shortages, compounded massively by the absence of team members who have been told to isolate despite not having shared shifts with colleagues who tested positive.

“Introducing a test to release system for fully vaccinated people from the middle of next month not only fails to recognise the carnage the current system is causing hospitality and the wider economy, but also significantly discriminates against a huge proportion of our workforce. Around 60% of our staff are aged between 15-34 and the vast majority will not have had the opportunity to receive both jabs by the 16 August.”

The industry is currently under severe pressure from staffing shortages as it prepares to operate restriction-free from 19 July.

With staff levels at an all-time low thanks to a double whammy of Brexit and the pandemic, further restrictions will hamper the sector’s ability to trade at full capacity.

Nicholls went on to say that after 16 months of lockdown, continued disruptions means that chances of recovery will be harmed for many.

“Operators will be forced into reducing their operating hours or closing venues completely. We urge the government to move quicker on this issue to prevent the summer being cancelled and vast swathes of the population unnecessarily confined to their homes,” she said.