Greggs Forced To Close Stores As Track And Trace Notifications Soar
Greggs is among a number of shops, pubs and stores that have had to close due to not having enough staff after a large number of employees were pinged by the NHS Track and Trace app.
Despite a rapid vaccination programme, the UK is still struggling to contain the rising number of COVID-19 cases after lowering restrictions on Monday, July 19. Many employees in the hospitality are among those being told to stay at home by the NHS Track and Trace app, leaving shops without enough staff – including popular bakery chain Greggs.
Pubs, bars and restaurants operator Mitchells & Butlers has said it has seen 40 venues close across all its brands, which include O’Neill’s, Harvester and Toby Carvery.
Speaking to The Sun, a spokesperson for Mitchells & Butlers said:
We have been forced to temporarily close a number of our venues because members of staff have been pinged by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate.
This pingdemic is causing a significant disruption for our business and our teams and we would urge the Government to allow team members who are double jabbed and have regular tests to continue to work, ahead of the proposed 16th August date.
The pingdemic refers to cases in which people are asked to isolate by the app after being in the same area as someone with COVID-19, regardless of whether they have the virus. While many see this as a logical safety measure, some businesses are worried it will impact how they run.
Others are blaming the Conservative government for allowing cases to soar and impact the economy as food shortages increase.
A spokesperson from the Federation of Wholesale Distributors commented:
COVID cases and isolation notifications will rise in the coming weeks. This will mean many distribution staff being pinged and advised not to come to work, leading to challenges in delivering food to independent shops, pubs, restaurants, hotels, and hospitals, care homes and prisons and the military.
In response to the issue, the government has said that 10,000 staff in critical sectors could dodge 10 days of quarantine if their bosses get permission from ministers. However, it is unclear how the government will deal with the situation if the virus continues to spread in spite of the exception. Equally, the scheme won’t serve every sector, so the likes of Greggs would remain in disarray.
If the situation does worsen and food shortages increase, it has been reported that the army is on standby to help secure and deliver the UK’s food supplies.
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