Supermarket employees and others involved in the food supply chain will no longer be required to segregate themselves.
Thousands of workers at up to 500 important sites will be able to avoid having to self-isolate if they are recognized as a contact of a coronavirus case as part of emergency steps to protect food supplies.
As part of new focused coronavirus testing for certain workplaces, the food industry will be prioritized.
To free up contacts who would otherwise be self-isolating, daily testing will be pushed out to crucial workplaces in the food supply chain.
It comes as retailers face a “perfect storm” of self-isolating workers and past staff shortages, urging buyers not to stockpile and stating that there is “enough of food.”
Some products are experiencing supply challenges, according to supermarkets including the Co-op, but shortages are “patchy” throughout locations.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) claimed the government committed to initiatives to strengthen the food supply chain’s resilience during a meeting with retail executives.
According to Defra, shop executives dismissed fears of shortages, claiming that issues were not prevalent.
Priority testing sites, including the main supermarket distribution centers, have already been chosen with industry for immediate deployment this week, with a rollout to up to 500 sites set to begin next week.
All employees who have received an NHS Covid 19 app notice to isolate or who have been contacted by Test and Trace will be permitted to return to work if their tests are negative.
“Food firms across the country have been the hidden heroes of the pandemic,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice.
“With daily testing, we are working together with industry to allow employees to go about their critical work in a safe manner.
“We have an extremely resilient food supply network, as evidenced by the last 18 months. People may and should purchase as usual since there are sufficient food supplies in the system.”
“Throughout this worldwide pandemic, workers in our food and drink sectors have overcome great hurdles and done everything they can to keep our shelves stocked and our fridges full,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
“As we manage this virus and do everything we can to break transmission chains, daily contact testing of workers in this critical industry will assist to reduce the disruption caused by mounting cases in.”
“The summary comes to an end.”