The government has published a list of 16 sectors in which some staff may be eligible to avoid isolation after coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Businesses are being contacted if they qualify for quarantine exemptions – with some fully-vaccinated employees allowed to work even if they are alerted by the COVID app.
The exemptions will only be open to a “limited number of named workers” in sectors including energy, civil nuclear, digital infrastructure, food production and supply, waste, water, veterinary medicines, essential chemicals, essential transport, medicines, medical devices, clinical consumable supplies, emergency services, border control, essential defence outputs, and local government.
Those covered can exit isolation for work purposes, but otherwise must remain at home. They must also take a daily test.
Anyone who receives a positive result must quarantine.
A separate scheme has also been launched allowing 10,000 supermarket depot workers and food manufacturers to avoid isolation by taking daily tests. These workers can continue attending shifts regardless of vaccination status. The scheme will not, however, apply to supermarket store staff.
The move comes following widespread disruption caused by isolation alerts – with over 600,000 people told to quarantine by track and trace during the second week of July.
The food industry has been significantly hit – with staff shortages resulting in low numbers of stock in some stores.
The Department of Health and Social Care described the exemption schemes as “a small and targeted intervention to ensure that services critical to the safety and functioning of our society can continue”.
Featured image: Shutterstock