// Fashion retailer Seasalt has been forced to close 5 stores amid staff shortage
// The opening of the newly restored Bobby & Co department store has been delayed as builders working on the project being forced to self-isolate
As the ‘pingdemic’ forces workers to isolate, fashion retailers are being forced to close shops while the opening of a new department store has also been delayed.
Retail Week reported that the fashion retailer Seasalt was forced to close five of its stores for one day each last week due to workers being pinged by the NHS Test and Trace app and forced to self-isolate.
As reported by the BBC, last week saw a record of 618,903 alerts being sent to Test and Trace app users in England.
The rising wave of retail staff being forced to stay home comes as cases surge in the aftermath of the government dropping all Covid restrictions across England.
- Retail store staff not exempt from Covid self-isolation
Grocers including Tesco, Waitrose and Iceland have already attributed the increasing gaps on their shelves to workers being forced to self-isolate.
While much of the coverage of the unfolding crisis has focused on empty supermarket shelves, The Works chief executive Gavin Peck told Retail Week that the issue is beginning to affect retailers across other categories as well.
He said he knew of retailers being forced to operate with reduced store hours due to the pandemic and said he’d been forced to “restaff [stores] at short notice”.
As the pingdemic continues to affect retailers and their staff directly, it is also hampering the opening of new retail sites.
The phased opening of the newly restored Bobby & Co department store in Bournemouth, which was set to begin on August 7, has been delayed until September 9 as builders working on the project being forced to self-isolate.
Despite concerns the government announced that retail store staff have not been included in the government’s list of key workers who will become exempt from the latest Covid self-isolation rules.
Around 10,000 workers in the food supply chain industry are set to become exempt from the rules but the government has said that this will not include retailer floor staff.