Home Somerset business A “summer of closures” planned for pubs and restaurants due to “pingdemia”

A “summer of closures” planned for pubs and restaurants due to “pingdemia”


A “summer of site closures” will see pubs and restaurants shut down after hospitality workers are excluded from the list of essential workers exempt from self-isolation, industry leaders have warned, as coronavirus cases continued to increase.

Hotels, clubs and amusement parks are also expected to face closures and shortened opening hours, as staff from sectors such as food supply and emergency services have been favored as part of the move. the measure aimed at combating “pingaemia”.

Trade association UKHospitality has warned that the sector will have “one strapped in the back” as staff are forced to self-isolate due to Covid-19 contact during what is expected to be peak season.

Ministers faced sustained calls to bring forward the date by which all fully vaccinated people can avoid isolation in close contact from August 16.

The growing criticism came as data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that Covid-19 cases continued to rise, with around one in 75 people in England infected.

The estimate of the number of positive tests – 741,700 – in the week to July 17 is the highest number since the week to January 30.

Ministers sought to allay industry concerns by releasing a list of sectors double-bitten workers are eligible for to avoid isolation if they undergo daily tests.

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In emergency measures to protect supplies, around 10,000 food workers are expected to be included in the program. Others in key sectors of the economy and vital public services have also been included.

But UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the industry she represents was left to “face the consequences” after being left off the list and called for a “more pragmatic solution.”

“We are now facing a summer of site closures and reduced service when we should be at a seasonal peak. The sector will do everything possible to provide excellent service, but it will be with one hand tied behind the back, ”she said.

“Those who are fully vaccinated should be able to test after a ping and, subject to a negative result, continue with their lives. For those who are not fully vaccinated, two negative tests should be enough to return to work. “

But the British Medical Association said the problem was not the “excessive ping” of the NHS Covid-19 app, but that the government‘s coronavirus strategy has caused a “sharp drop in cases”.

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(PA Graphics)

BMA board chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the isolation figures are a “direct result of the lack of effective government measures that allow the virus to spread across the country.”

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government risked “losing social consent” for the isolation if it did not immediately advance a broader relaxation of quarantine rules.

His call was echoed by fellow Conservative Greg Clark, a former business secretary who now chairs the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

“We know that on August 16 a new system will come into place where you can take a test if you are named as a contact and only self-isolate if you are positive – I don’t see why we can’t start this. now July 23 rather than wait, ”he told World At One on BBC Radio 4.

But Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky the date “at the moment is not advanced.”

“Things can always change either way, but the reason we set ourselves these days is to give people some sort of indication of what to expect,” he added. .

The need for action has been underscored by the latest figures showing a record number of people in England and Wales have been ‘flagged’ as contacts by the app and asked to self-isolate up to 10 days.

NHS figures show 618,903 alerts were sent to app users in the week to July 14, a period before most of England’s restrictions were lifted and more social contact are authorized.

The Local Government Association said public health directors were already inundated with requests from employers who believed their staff should be exempted.

People testing positive for Covid-19 in private households in England.
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Services provided by local authorities such as garbage collection, road repairs and park maintenance could be affected, council officials warned.

Meanwhile, data from Public Health England (PHE) suggests the Delta variant of the coronavirus may be 46% more likely to cause reinfection than the Alpha variant first identified in Kent.

The overall chances of re-infection are very low, but research has suggested that there is a higher risk posed by the variant first identified in India, which now accounts for 99% of cases in the UK.