‘Pingdemic’ – an increase in self-isolating threatens supermarket sales
‘The NHS app has told so many supermarket workers to self-isolate that some stores are now considering reducing opening hours or closing altogether.
M&S is one chain that saw a rise in employees receiving notifications and are therefore contemplating reducing hours to keep up with the shortages.
Another store (that wants to remain anonymous) told the BBC, “There’s a risk that there won’t be sufficient staff to open shops,” which could ultimately lead to a disruption of food supplies.
Steve Rowe, M&S’ Chief Executive, said: “Our Covid cases are roughly doubling every week, and the pinging level is about three to one of Covid cases, so we’re seeing that growing exponentially.
“If there are shortages, we’ll have to manage it by changing hours of stores, reducing hours.”
The week commencing 5 July 2021, there were over 500,000 alerts sent to users of the NHS Test and Trace app in England and Wales.
Rule change – for those fully vaccinated
Those that are full vaccinated do not have to isolate if they receive a notification from the NHS app saying they have come into contact with someone with Covid – from 16 August. Instead, the NHS advice is to take a PCR test as soon as they can.
However, a representative of the industry, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), thinks the Government should bring forward this self-isolating change from 16 August. It states those that “are fully vaccinated or have a negative test [should not be] forced to needlessly quarantine” when contacted by the app.
With this rule change in place, representatives hope this solves the ongoing disruption to retail operations and trading.
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