Supermarkets and pubs: Iceland and Greene King shut sites amid NHS Covid app chaos
Iceland has been forced to close shops due to staff shortages caused by people being forced to self-isolate by the NHS Covid app.
Iceland has said after keeping all of its stores open during lockdown, it has now had to shut some because 1,000 staff have been “pinged” by the app.
Iceland said that as well closing some stores, the chain has also had to reduce opening hours in some circumstances. “The concern is that as this thing rises exponentially as we’ve just been hearing. It could get a lot worse a lot quicker,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.
Chief executive Richard Walker said: “The great irony is that we’re now all getting vaccinated.”
Green King is another business hit by the app mayhem. They have been forced to close 33 pubs in the past week due to staff self-isolating.
The pubs group has also had to shorten its opening hours at some sites due to staff shortages. Boss Nick Mackenzie said that across the hospitality industry about one in five team members have been affected, “and therefore it is causing a real issue for us setting-up a business on a daily basis.”
Recent figures showed more than 500,000 people in England and Wales were “pinged” by the app in the week to 7 July, up 46% on the previous week.
Those who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate for 10 days.
On Monday, Vauxhall said it has reduced its daily shifts from three to two at its Luton plant “because of increasing numbers of employees who have been contacted by the app.”
A Vauxhall spokesman said the carmaker was about to embark on its yearly three-week shutdown from Friday, 23 July, adding by the time the Luton plant restarts in August it hopes “the situation will have improved.”
Nissan and Rolls-Royce have warned that staff shortages could affect production.
Marks & Spencer said it may have to reduce store opening hours.
Covid cases in England and Wales surpassed 50,000 on both Friday and Saturday – the highest number since mid-January.
On Monday, England lifted all Covid restrictions – including the legal requirement to wear masks.
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