ACS urges government to bring forward self isolation rule changes

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In this photo illustration the official NHS Covid-19 "Test and Trace" contact tracing app is seen on a screen on August 13, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the government to bring forward the change in self isolation rules.

In a letter to the Business Minister Paul Scully, ACS noted that significant numbers of staff have to sit out the self-isolation period, despite having two doses of the vaccine and testing negative.

Under current proposals, from 16 August, anyone who has had their second vaccine dose more than two weeks prior, or who is aged under 18, would not have to self-isolate due to being identified by NHS Test and Trace as a result of close contact. ACS said bringing forward the rule change will help to avoid significant operational challenges for retailers, staff shortages and unnecessary short term business closures.

“We welcome the government’s plan to change this rule to get people back to work, but encourage ministers to take action to implement this now to avoid disruption in stores,” James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said.

The letter also calls on the government to ensure that messaging to consumers around face coverings and other measures is simplified, and that customers are encouraged to respect the policies of individual businesses where they choose to go further than is legally required.

“We are still hearing mixed messages about personal responsibility and public safety. Our members want to make sure that everyone in store, both colleague and customer, feels safe and comfortable being there, and some clarity and simple messaging from government would go a long way to helping us achieve that goal ahead of July 19th,” Lowman added.