Retail Excellence has called on the Government to change the current rules around close contacts of those who have tested positive with COVID-19. Currently, close contacts of positive cases must restrict their movements for ten days if they have not received a booster vaccine dose, while those who have had a booster at least a week prior must restrict their movements for five days.
Jean McCabe, vice-chair of Retail Excellence, commented, “The Government has gone some way towards acknowledging the scale of the crisis by cutting the period of isolation from ten to seven days for those who themselves have received a positive result and have been boosted or have been infected in the previous three months."
"However, our close contact rules represent a very serious problem and need to be reduced," she said.
"They are having a much bigger impact on retail staffing at the moment than positive cases - many businesses are not able to roster enough staff to even open because so many people are close contacts,” McCabe added.
Skeleton StaffShe said that many retailers were operating with a skeleton staff and many have not been able to open over the Christmas period due to the need for close contacts of positive cases to restrict their movements for such an extended period of time.
“We understand that cases are skyrocketing yet the response with regard to close contacts does not appear to be proportionate to the threat posed by this variant,” McCabe concluded.