As of today, those who have received two doses of the Covid vaccine and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test & Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern.
However, they will still be advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and to limit contact with others, especially the clinically vulnerable. But they will not have to isolate while waiting the results of the PCR test.
Should the PCR test return a positive result, the individual will still have to isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age.
The sector has been hit by staff shortages due to team members having to self-isolate after coming into contact with a positive coronavirus case.
St Austell Brewery CEO Kevin Georgel welcomed the change but raised concerns around the fact a number of employees were too young to be double vaccinated yet.
He said: “We welcome the changes to the Test & Trace app and rules around self-isolation from the 16 August, which will help to alleviate some pressures on hospitality businesses and their staff. The ‘pingdemic’ has had a huge impact on the recovery of our sector at a critical time.
“However, in the south west our business is facing a unique challenge as we have many visitors to the area in these peak summer months, combined with a largely young workforce, many of whom will not be double vaccinated by 16 August."
Test and release system
Georgel added: “This means pressures on our staff are set to continue if younger members of the team continue to have to self-isolate when ‘pinged’.
“If recent changes to the app do not bring about the desired shift in the severity of the ‘pingdemic’, then it is crucial the Government explores other options.
“Along with much of the industry, we would fully support a ‘test and release’ system that would allow our younger employees to carry on working.”