“We’re never going to take risks with our food supply chain,” Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC Breakfast.
In an effort to revive the economy and avoid food shortages in England, the government is exempting supermarket depot workers and food manufacturers from self-isolation rules. Having more staff in the food supply chain despite the soaring Covid cases will prevent shortages.
Measures are being put in place to ensure that everyone involved is safe. From Friday new daily contact testing measures will begin at 15 supermarket depots.
About 10,000 staff could qualify for the scheme, however, supermarket workers are not included.
“You’re talking then thousands of different shops and many more people and we still want to maintain the test, trace, and isolate the system,” George Eustice told BBC Breakfast
“We’re never going to take risks with our food supply chain,” he added.
The trading director at Cheshire-based County Milk Products, Phil Langslow highlighted the need for the government to take “a step in the right direction”.
“People having to isolate meant that a number of our suppliers, the service providers that are doing the transport for us, have just said they cannot cope. Roughly half of the deliveries that we would expect to be done are not being done routinely and we’re having to scramble to actually get product to its destination on time.
“If you think of the food chain as just that – as a chain, and like any chain, you’re only as good as the weakest link – if you cannot get your goods to the market, then you’ve got a problem,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.