// Supermarket staff have not been included in the list of key workers exempt from Covid-19 self-isolation rules
// Those working in the grocery supply chain, however, are set to become exempt
Retail store staff have not been included in the government’s list of key workers who will become exempt from the latest Covid-19 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 supermarket staff.
Retailers including Iceland and M&S have already warned that they have been forced to change opening hours and close some stores due to staff being told to self-isolate from the NHS test and trace app.
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However, calls for store workers to be included in a new daily testing scheme were rejected by the government.
Employees in other key parts of the food supply chain, including distribution centres and food manufacturing sites, have been included in the government’s list of industries that will become exempt from Covid isolation rules.
These workers across the grocery supply chain will now be able to take daily tests and continue to work if they receive a negative result, rather than being forced to stay at home and isolate.
Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News that “up to 500” distribution centres and food supply chain hubs have been identified where workers could be part of the scheme.
Eustace told the outlet that the exemption will begin today in 15 “priority testing sites” before being rolled out to 150 supermarket depots and “several hundred” food manufacturers.
It comes after supermarket bosses warned that the “pingdemic” was having an impact on availability in certain food categories.
A record 618,903 people across England and Wales were told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app in the week beginning July 8.