Retailers “welcome changes” as fully vaccinated staff no longer forced to self-isolate

Retail workers who have been double jabbed will no longer have to self-isolate after they are pinged allowing business to “take a step back towards normality”.

The government has taken major steps to end the ‘pingdemic’ which has wreaked havoc on the retail, hospitality and haulage sectors forcing many businesses to shut entirely or reduce their hours due to staff shortages.

From yesterday, anyone who is fully vaccinated on England and Northern Ireland will no longer be legally required to self-isolate for 10 days after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The move has been designed to drastically reduce the number of workers in self-isolation, which at the height of the crisis saw 75,000 retail staff unable to work, representing around three per cent of the entire sector.

One retailer, Healthy Pet Store, which saw 16 per cent of their workforce self-isolate during the peak of the pingdemic, welcomed the new changes.

“I really do welcome these changes, particularly as Healthy Pet Store is operating in an essential industry,” its managing director Deborah Burrows told the BBC.

READ MORE: Retail worst hit by ‘pingdemic’ as nearly 75,000 staff forced to self-isolate this month

“The self-isolation rules have had a great effect on small businesses like us.

“Our staff who have had to isolate have felt frustrated, bored and they just wanted to return to work but there was nothing they could do even though they had no symptoms. It felt like we were back to how we were a year ago. But we made sure to stay above the law at all times and follow the rules of the NHS app.”

Despite the easing pressure on retailers, Blue Yonder’s vice president of retail strategy Wayne Snyder has warned that continuing supply chain disruption means retailers will need to remain “focused on creating resilient operations”.

“Retailers struggled with how to deal with the pingdemic on top of already having to deal with adjusting their business post-pandemic, demonstrating the need for flexibility,” he said.

“Many of the issues across warehouses and transportation should be able to be resolved quickly but supply chain disruptions continue with many retailers already concerned about Christmas, in terms of stock and workforce.

“The last thing retail needs is another difficult end to the year and the risk of further restrictions remain… Flexibility will be key for the remainder of 2021.”

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