Wholesaler ‘completely in the dark’ on self-isolation exemption  

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Photo: birchallfoodservice.co.uk

Birchall Foodservice has revealed that they are still “completely in the dark” about whether they are exempt from self-isolation rules.

The government has announced that daily contact testing will be rolled out to workplaces in the food sector so staff who have been ‘pinged’ by the Covid-19 app can keep working if they test negative rather than isolating.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme on 27 July, Krissy Freemont, the Burnley-based business’s HR Manager, said they haven’t received confirmation from the government on the measure.

“We’re completely in the dark and there’s still a total lack of detail,” Freemont has said.

“We half know we’re going to be on the list, but then we got told that the government had directly contacted wholesalers and service providers that are on the list and we haven’t been contacted.

“So we got an email out to, asking if we were on the list and could they clarify. Then I got an automated response saying, ‘we’re receiving a high volume of emails, we’ll get back to you’, so we’re as much in the dark as we were last week.”

Freemont said the business, like several others in the sector, is battling on to ensure deliveries make it to their customers.

“We have anybody and everybody who can do, working in the departments that are struggling,” said Freemont. “I work in HR and I’ve been out on a van delivering, our directors have been out delivering. We will not fail our customers, no matter what happens, we will get the deliveries out.

“Our MD had to buy six (sic) vans so a regular car driver can drive to allow us to do this – we’re temperature controlled as well, so he bought six vans which we got quickly, so the likes of our management team and directors can go out with their customers. We’ll do whatever we have to do.”

Birchall has recently purchased seven new HGVs and five new box vans, which can be driven by any employee with a driving licence. The wholesaler said the vans will help them make emergency deliveries to customers quickly, as well as deliver along routes unsuitable for larger vehicles.

The business has also recruited seven new drivers.