Retail NI calls on Executive to act on ‘pingdemic’
Retailers say widespread staff shortages are putting huge pressure on their stores with workers ‘pinged’ via the Covid-19 app
20 July 2021 | 0
Retail NI has urged the NI Executive to bring Northern Ireland into line with the English date of 16 August for ‘pinged’ double vaccinated workers to take a PCR test, rather than ten days of self-isolation.
The call comes after Retail NI members reported widespread staff shortages putting huge pressure on their stores remaining open following workers getting ‘pinged’ via the Covid-19 app.
“This situation is getting serious, and we need the Executive to act before shops, the supply chain and our wider economy face widespread disruption with staff shortages,” said Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts.
He pointed out that independent retailers are particularly struggling given they have a smaller staff teams.
“At the very least we need the Executive to bring Northern Ireland into line with the English date of 16 August, which allows ‘pinged’ double vaccinated workers to take a PCR test, rather than self-isolation for ten days,” Roberts said.
Sky News has reported that Iceland supermarkets and Greene King pubs have become the latest to be affected by the so-called “pingdemic” in the UK.
Greene King said it has had to close 33 pubs in the past week while Iceland’s boss Richard Walker told the BBC more than 1,000 staff were off due to Covid and it has shut a number of stores.
Meanwhile, Retail NI has also expressed its disappointment that the roll out of public hand sanitiser units in town centres and high streets “has been virtually non-existent outside of Belfast City Centre,” according to the group.
“This needs to happen if we want to reduce transmission of the virus and provide confidence to shoppers,” Roberts said.