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Manufacturers call for end to isolation for fully vaccinated staff
Britain’s manufacturers are calling for the planned August 16 date – when those fully vaccinated will no longer be required to self-isolate – to be brought forward on the back of clear evidence of the impact of ‘pinging’ on the sector.
The call was made as a result of a survey showing two thirds of companies back the call in response to the widespread impact of an increasing number of staff who are having to isolate. This is now having a knock-on impact with 13% of companies saying some production has already stopped.
The Government has already made around 10,000 workers in the food production and distribution supply chain exempt. Speaking to Sky News on Friday morning, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the exemption would not currently be extended to other businesses but that the Government was keeping everything under review.
The survey of 436 companies also showed companies are continuing to prioritise the safety of their staff with more than two thirds of companies (67%) saying they had not removed any restrictions and had no plans to do so. Almost a fifth of companies (19%) have removed some restrictions, while just 2% have removed all.
Stephen Phipson, Make UK chief executive, said: “While we remain in a public health emergency, the rules are clear in that anyone who is pinged should isolate. As such, employers should continue to act responsibly as they have since the start of the crisis and encourage their employees to follow the rules as they stand.
“However, the impact on manufacturing continues to rapidly increase and there remains an inconsistency of government policy that allows non-vaccinated people in nightclubs while those who have had both jabs are asked to isolate. We would urge government to address this by bringing forward the planned August date in order to keep the economy open.”
According to the survey, over three quarters of companies (77%) said that NHS test and trace was having an impact on their business, with the same proportion having seen this increase in the last two weeks.
In terms of proportion of staff, more than half of companies (56%) said up to 5% of staff were having to isolate, with almost a quarter (22%) saying up to 10% were having to isolate.
The survey also showed that the overwhelming majority of companies (97%) back free lateral flow tests for employers and statutory sick pay from day one for employees isolating and/or with Covid symptoms.