Over 600,000 people using the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales were sent self-isolation alerts in the week between 8 and 15 July.
And about a fifth of hospitality workers are isolating. It’s led to staff shortages in the hospitality sector which employs over three million people. With entire teams being “pinged” at once, pubs, restaurants and hotels have been forced to temporarily shut, prompting some hospitality staff to delete the app. Although isolating after being pinged isn’t a legal requirement, the government urges people to do so.
In a recent interview, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC: “If you are pinged, you should self-isolate. I know it poses challenges but the rules are clear and I think they should be followed.”
Rachael says a large factor in deleting the app was a lack of sick pay. “If I’m off, I get no income or support. If I did I would self-isolate.” Stymied by a lack of earnings, she spoke to her manager about ending one of her isolations early. “I asked my boss, ‘If I got a test today, and it’s negative, can I work?’
“He said no because the head office was being strict, but in our staff WhatsApp chat he later messaged to say people should delete the app because they’re losing so many staff.”