As of August 16, fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required by government to self-isolate unless they test positive for Covid.
This applies even when a fellow household member has the virus. However, in these circumstances they will be encouraged, but not required, to have a PCR test. Also, for the fully vaccinated, there will be no legal requirement to isolate while waiting for a test result.
As a consequence, the special “reasonable excuse” exemption scheme for named individuals has fallen away. The government hopes that these changes will reduce absence caused by people being pinged by the NHS test and trace system even when they do not have symptoms.
This has been widely welcomed by food businesses as there have been many reports of some SKUs being absent from shelves because of logistical difficulties – although no flour millers have so far reported serious problems.
The daily Covid testing regime being operated by some businesses in the food chain (DEFRA has nominated 750 so far) will be maintained as it provides a route to continuing work for the unvaccinated. It’s possible that this scheme may be extended to permit testing at home, but a decision on this point is unlikely to be made before mid-September.
If your business has not already done so, and would like to be included, please let us know if you would like your sites to be nominated for this scheme as it may be possible to add to DEFRA’s list.
Finally, the government plans to have offered all adults over 18 the opportunity to be fully vaccinated by the end of September. Currently approximately 75% of adults have been fully vaccinated.
We’ll keep you posted on any further developments – in the meantime please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or follow-up on your own company’s situation.