Whether it’s the government or the NHS, the stubborn mule that’s been resisting change to the self isolation pings has finally been forced to relax the criteria. Contact with Covid cases has been reduced from five days to two, drawing a universal sigh of relief from all around the hospitality sector.
With AGC operator Merkur UK last week reporting an 8 per cent staff impact across its national estate, and dozens of other operators closing down temporarily, the news of a change has been welcomed.
But with caution.
“But it must be brought in with immediate effect and doesn’t obviate the need for a test to release scheme to be in place to allow people safely to return to work,” she quickly instructed.
And with good reason too. The price of an over-active, over-zealous and unrelenting contact tracing programme has been monumental according to the pub sector which has analysed the mess created by the scheme.
According to BBPA research, over 1,000 pubs were forced to close temporarily due to staff pings causing an actual fiscal cost to these operators of £9,500 a week.
Across the pub sector that tallies up to a hefty price tag of £36 million.
BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin warned: “If the changes to the app do not bring about the desired shift in the severity of the pingdemic, then the Government must explore other options. A test to release system is critical for our sector to unlock our young workforce.”