The UK scrapped COVID-19 restrictions last week in a bid to bolster the economy, even as the move was highly criticised by health workers. In the aftermath, UK’s bars and restaurants still struggle to hire staff, as many employees have been hit by the National Health Service's contact tracing system. The mandate is that - if you’ve been pinged by the Test and Trace app (after coming in contact with a possible coronavirus carrier), you have to self-isolate. In other words, you can't go to work.
UK Hospitality, which represents the interests of the UK hospitality sector and is a leading hospitality trade association, joined hands with the business community calling for removal or review of the app. They say that there needs to be a provision to allow people to work after a COVID-negative test.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that hospitality firms such as pubs and restaurants had above 102,000 openings between April and June 2021. This was five times higher than those reported between December 2020 and February 2021.
Despite the vacancies, there is an increased reluctance to work owing to the NHS Test and Trace. Workers have been self-isolating en masse after being “pinged. ”
Ripple effects across the food chain are more evident than ever before. Payments to suppliers and contractors of food and beverage companies to their suppliers and contractors in May 2021 is only at 51% of its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Many establishments also call for a reduction in tariffs on draft beer and tax breaks for small brewers.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of British Beer and Pub Association, says what’s on everybody’s mind: "The figures are clear: more investment is now needed for our sector so that it can play a leading role in rebuilding society and the economy.”