Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability for the industry lobby group, the British Retail Consortium, said the government must act quickly to tackle the problem.
“Traders and suppliers, who have played a vital role throughout this pandemic, should be allowed to work provided they are doubly vaccinated or can present a negative Covid test to ensure that there is no is no disruption of the public’s ability to procure food and other goods, ”he said.
Truck drivers were already in short supply before the “pingdemia”, with the Road Haulage Association estimating a shortfall of around 60,000, caused in part by the cancellation of driving tests.
Rod McKenzie, of the association, said the government’s plan was “confusing” and felt it “was rushed,” adding: “Where do you draw the line on truck drivers, workers? essential, people in supply chains? Because most of the people I know in the supply chain would say ‘wait a sec, I’m an essential worker’. “
Earlier this week, the government said there would be no list of critical workers exempted from isolation rules and that exemptions would be “considered on a case-by-case basis.”
On Monday, Mr Johnson said those who would benefit included “our hospitals and nursing homes, the supply of food, water, electricity and medicine, the movement of our trains, the protection of our borders and the defense of our kingdom. “. It was above the NHS staff.
However, on Tuesday, the government did not release any guidance on which industries would benefit from the exemption, how companies wishing to participate might apply, or what criteria would be used to judge nominations. Companies are encouraged to contact the relevant government department.
A list of sectors that would be allowed to participate in the program was to be released by the government on Wednesday, but by early evening no announcement had been made.
Sources from the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it had been inundated with requests for exemptions from companies due to confusion over the program and companies’ frustration with the program. to the impact of “pingdemia”.