According to reports many business owners in Northern Ireland are saying that the use of the StopCOVID contact tracing app is forcing them to run a limited service, or close for short periods, just when they need to get back on the road to recovery.
Pinged By The Contact Tracing App
If someone gets pinged by this contact tracing app it means that they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and so they must self-isolate for 10 days. The problem for businesses is that the success of the app in identifying contact with someone who has tested positive has grown so much that businesses are having to close down whilst their staff self-isolate on a regular basis, which is causing havoc, particularly for such as the hospitality sector.
No Dates For Self-Isolation Rules To Change
Speaking to BBC News NI, Daniel Donnelly, from the Federation of Small Businesses Northern Ireland, said about this issue:
“It’s been a huge issue in recent weeks,” he told BBC News NI.
“Staff shortages have been a problem for a number of reasons, with tightening immigration rules after Brexit, we have some sectors particularly affected by lockdown where people have then found other employment while those sectors have been closed and the pingdemic has amplified that.
“We have no dates here in Northern Ireland in terms of when those self-isolation rules would change. So we would call on the executive to have look at this to see if policy can be changed.
“Self-isolation has been an important tool in dealing with the virus, but we have moved on in terms of being in a different place.”
Making A Distinction For The Double Vaccinated
Mr Donnelly added: “If we look at what we’re doing for travel, and looking at the amber list travellers, we are making a distinction between those who are double vaccinated who don’t have to self-isolate if they have a day 2 PCR test, so we think that [Stormont should] apply that principle to business.
“We have the protection of the vaccination, more people are becoming double vaccinated. If we have a test as well, we could potentially release more workers into the workforce and shorten the period of self-isolation.
“That’s good for the worker, in terms of not losing income, and it’s good for [businesses] that can stay open and continue to serve the community.”
Surely it makes sense to try to do all we can to keep businesses open permanently after the horrendous last 18 months they have had. So instead of having to self-isolate if coming into contact with someone who has tested positive, it makes sense if vaccinated workers can have a regular PCR test so that they can carry on working if they test negative. The sooner this can be implemented the better for all concerned.