Food supply chains are “starting to fail” because of workers isolating over coronavirus contacts, an industry leader has warned, as he criticised Boris Johnson’s effort to ease the “pingdemic”.
A meat industry trade body said it cannot rely on the Prime Minister’s new exemption for some fully-vaccinated critical workers because the bar has been set “very, very high”.
Mr Johnson apologised to businesses for the “inconvenience” on Wednesday but told them to stick with isolation rules after confusion was sown by his own ministers.
In the face of widespread criticism over staff shortages as Covid-19 cases soar, the Prime Minister this week announced a plan for a “small number” of critical workers to be able to continue their functions.
“There’s an air of despondency creeping through the industry really. Until now we’ve managed to keep the food supply chain running but there’s a sense of we’re starting to fail on that front,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Asked if production lines are stalling, he said: “They are. It’s happening already. We’re starting to see that at retail level and in restaurants – everyone is struggling to get things out really.”