Responding to an update on possible self-isolation exemptions for key workers in critical services, Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the BCC, said: 

“While the announcement of a process which may exempt select critical workers from self-isolation in England will be a relief to some businesses, it will leave many more still facing critical staff shortages and lost revenue as the number of people being asked to isolate remains high.  

“Nearly half of the businesses we surveyed this week have had staff either off sick with Covid or self-isolating in the past two weeks. Businesses want to play their part in stopping the spread of the virus while at the same time striving to revive their business after 16 months of disruption and closures.   

“Pilot schemes for ‘test to release’ options have been running for some time now and we would urge the government to immediately bring forward the results of those test schemes and set out how this could be used to enable more double vaccinated people to avoid self-isolation beyond this narrow group of critical workers. 

“Government departments are likely to face large volumes of requests for exemptions in the coming days. They must live up to their commitment to responding quickly to requests and provide clear and precise guidance as to what individuals and businesses should do, for example with regards to testing.” 

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BCC SAYS MANY BUSINESSES FACE DIFFICULT WEEKS AHEAD DESPITE PLAN FOR SELF-ISOLATION EXEMPTIONS