‘They’re at risk!’ Iceland boss calls for different supermarket rules for unvaccinated

Covid-19: Iceland boss explains how they'll enforce face masks

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Iceland is just one of many businesses who is experiencing staff shortages due to workers self-isolating because they either have coronavirus symptoms or have been in contact with someone else who has. Managing Director of the frozen food chain, Richard Walker has suggested the government create different rules for those who have not had a coronavirus vaccine. 

Richard revealed one in 10 of Iceland workers are currently self-isolating due to Covid-19.

The frozen food retailer said about 3,300 people were currently at home – that’s 11 percent of its entire workforce. 

He added that rates of staff absences in recent days were more than double last year’s peak during the so-called ‘pingdemic’.

Iceland had to close two of its stores on New Year’s Day and move the workers to other stores nearby due to the shortages. 

Richard told BBC news: “It is now only the unvaccinated at serious risk of harm and hospitalisation. 

“I think we need to design policies that are fit for business and society, and those who are vaccinated as opposed to the unvaccinated tail wagging the triple jabbed dog.”

Supermarkets are not the only businesses who are experiencing staff absecnes. 

Bin collections are delayed, trains have been cancelled and hospitals across the UK have a skeleton workforce. 

Richard also spoke about the self-isolation period and why it needs to be reduced. 

He tweeted: “Our Covid absences have risen by almost 700 w-o-w, now at over 1,700. 

“It would be very helpful to business if the isolation period was cut.” 

The supermarket boss also commented on an article discussing which critical workers would recieve a daily Covid test. 

He said: “This should include food retail shop workers.” 

Richard is yet to get the backing in regards to isolation periods to be reuced. 

One supermarket told The Grocer: “This is a matter that needs to be guided by scientific advisors, not what retailers need. 

“We want the isolation period to be as short as possible but as long as necessary.”

Another said its absence rate stood at about five percent to six percent.

And while it was expected to rise this week, with some regions worse hit than others, it was still less than half the peak seen at the height of the pindemic last summer. 

Waitrose, on the other hand, was asking staff to follow government recommendations on isolation.

A spokeswoman added: “Our absences are tracking in line with the national trend – but all shops are operational.” 

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