Iceland and the Green King say they had to close shops and pubs due to a shortage of staff as people were forced to quarantine themselves by the NHS Covid app.
Iceland said that after leaving all stores open during the blockade, 1,000 staff were “pinged” by the app and some had to be closed.
“Ironically, we are all vaccinated,” said CEO Richard Walker.
Greene King closed 33 pubs last week due to staff quarantine.
Boss Nick Mackenzie said the pub group also had to reduce business hours on some sites. He added that about one in five team members is affected across the hospitality industry. “Therefore, it poses a major problem for us to start a business on a daily basis.”
According to recent figures, more than 500,000 people in England and Wales were “pinged” by the app in the week leading up to July 7, an increase of 46% over the previous week.
Anyone who comes into contact with a person who tests positive for Covid-19 should be self-quarantined for 10 days.
The CBI’s Business Lobby Group warns that a “lack of staff with disabilities” risks hindering economic recovery.
Vauxhall confirmed on Monday that it reduced the daily shift at the Luton plant from three to two, “because of the increased number of employees contacted by the app.”
A spokesman for the car maker said Vauxhall is about to undertake a three-week shutdown each year starting Friday, July 23. By the time the Luton plant reopens in August, we expect that “the situation will improve.”
Other companies in the automotive industry are also affected by the high level of staff quarantine. Both Nissan and Rolls-Royce warn that staff shortages can impact production.
On the weekend, Marks & Spencer said It may be necessary to reduce store opening times, but a major unnamed supermarket told the BBC that “there is a risk of not having enough staff to open.”
In addition to closing some stores, Iceland’s Walker said the chain had to reduce business hours in some circumstances. “The concern is that it will rise exponentially, as we just heard. It can get worse much faster,” he told the BBC’s Today program.
Walker said 4% of Iceland’s 30,000 strong workforce is currently absent. “In fact, so many people are pinged that we have announced that we will hire an additional 2,000 people to provide a deeper workforce.”
Covid cases in England and Wales exceeded 50,000 on both Friday and Saturday, the highest number since mid-January. On Monday, England lifted the final Covid restriction, including the legal requirement to wear a face cover to prevent the spread of the virus.
Wales plans to abolish most of the rules on August 7, but this does not include face masks. Scotland has moved to the lowest Covid limit, but the face cover must be worn for an additional 3 weeks. Northern Ireland decides to relax the 7-day rule on Thursday.
Humphrey Cobbold, CEO of PureGym, said his business was able to keep all sites open, despite the increasing number of employees being forced to quarantine. But it was difficult.
“In some areas, up to 25% of our staff are required to be quarantined,” he told the BBC.
“The flexibility and sharing of effort between sites has allowed us to keep our sites open, but in certain situations it was a very close call.”
Kate Lester, founder and CEO of Diamond Logistics, which operates a network of fulfillment and delivery centers in the UK, said a new site in Motherwell, Scotland, as 20% to 25% of its staff are absent from work. He said he had to delay the opening of the company.
“In reality, we need to delay its launch by more than a month because it not only robs new network partners of revenue, but also robs clients of important logistics services,” she said.
Analysis by Rob Young, BBC Business Reporter
Today is a potentially big day for many companies. There is no capacity limit. You can fill the venue if you want. This means, for example, that many pubs and restaurants have a chance to make a profit again.
The boss has been waiting for this day since the pandemic began. But they are facing another growing problem. As the number of infectious diseases increases, so does the number of people who are told that they must self-quarantine after contact with positive cases. This causes staffing issues for many and many companies. The venue and stores had to be closed. Business hours have been shortened.
Companies are crying out to urge the government to immediately change their self-quarantine rules to exempt people who have both the Covid-19 vaccine and test negatives. The administration will be reviewed within a month.
However, business leaders are afraid that more staff will be told to stay home, forcing the business to shut down when it wants to make money again.
The CBI calls for the immediate termination of the 10-day self-quarantine period for fully vaccinated people. He also states that daily immunochromatography can help people who have not received both jabs get back to work.
After August 16th, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to be quarantined if they are “pinged” by the NHS app when they come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid. Instead, we recommend that you take the PCR test as soon as possible.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak I was forced to make a U-turn on the decision not to self-isolate After contacting Health Minister Sajid Javid, who tested positive for Covid on Saturday.
Johnson and Snack initially said they didn’t need to be quarantined because they were instead participating in a pilot program that included daily tests. However, this caused a backlash from opposition parties and businesses.
Green King’s Mackenzie said the government needs to move forward with a “test and release” scheme so that more people can get jobs and “return us to normal again.”