The foodservice industry is facing a major staffing issue as so many employees are being pinged by the NHS Test & Trace app, telling them they've been in contact with someone who is positive and therefore have to self-isolate for 10 days.
This has put a huge strain on many foodservice sectors and sub-sectors, at a time when operators are desperate to claw back sales from so many months of closure.
The Government has attempted to tackle this across industry sectors by releasing an exemption list.
However, the only area related to foodservice on the list is 'food production and supply', which includes these sectors: food retail (supermarkets, c-stores, bakeries etc), route to market (wholesale and logistics), and food manufacturing. This should help curb the new shortages seen in supermarkets this week, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and bottled water.
Those in these sectors will have to be part of a brand new daily contact test scheme in order to keep working.
This still leaves all the others which are being seriously affected by the 'pingdemic', such as: restaurants, QSR - fast food, cafes, coffee shops, pubs & bars, and hotels & B&Bs.
Therefore, the government urgently needs to expand the list to include these sectors in order to keep thousands of businesses afloat.
The sectors currently included on the list are:
food production and supply
clinical consumable supplies
essential defence outputs
(Caterlyst Foodservice News editor)