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Published
Jul 14, 2021
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UK retailers struggle with 20% of workers in self isolation

Published
Jul 14, 2021

A shortage of workers in the UK retail and hospitality sectors due to Covid-related isolation demands is already high and set to get worse.


Photo: Pexels


The government’s business select committee has been told one in five workers in the two sectors are currently self-isolating as a result of Covid-19 rules. And this could rise to one in three.

The issue has been caused by people being alerted to stay at home after being in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for the virus.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, said stores were facing absences on a similar scale to those in locations such as bars and restaurants. She said of the retail sector: “We are seeing some vacancy rates of around 20%.”

The problem has also arisen as some staff have switched careers during the pandemic due to the closure of stores and hospitality locations.

Covid seems to be hitting the two sectors hard as a large number of workers are young, which means they’re in age groups that have either not been vaccinated or have had their vaccinations only recently.

Changes to allow double-vaccinated people to avoid isolation won't have a big impact until September because many workers won't have been able to have their second jabs until then.

Representatives of the two sectors are calling for a test-to-release policy to help them work.

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