Responding to news of a cut to a 5-day isolation period, Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the BCC, said:

Businesses are continuing to tell us they are struggling with high levels of absence due to Covid and will welcome the news it is judged safe to further reduce the isolation period.

“But too many say that staff are also finding it difficult to get the Lateral Flow Tests they need to prove they can return to work.

“This new change will only help if urgent action is taken to ramp up the supply of tests, so employees are not isolating unnecessarily.

Many firms are still worried that staff absences will critically impact their supply chains and put pressure on cash flow at a time when economic conditions are still very difficult.

Supply of tests is also crucial to building consumer confidence as many want to be assured that they are covid-free before they go out and meet friends in hospitality and leisure premises.

With the next review of Plan B restrictions due in less than two weeks, businesses will want to know what the Government’s longer-term contingency plans are should a new variant create a fresh wave of serious infections including how they would support businesses impacted by any potential restrictions.”

More information on the new rules on self-isolation from Monday 17 January can be found here.