The Iceland boss, Richard Walker, has said that the government’s Covid-19 test plan is a “pointless solution” because it excludes supermarket workers.
“It’s only depot and factory workers so that only fixes half the supply chain issue,” Walker told the BBC.
Despite daily testing for some sectors starting on Monday, some smaller firms have complained that they still do not whether they are eligible for the new scheme.
The government launched the scheme following staff shortages in some critical industries brought on by the ‘pingdemic’.
Walker downplayed any fears of food shortages, saying there would be “enough stock to go around” but that staff are having to work “very hard to keep the show on the road” owing to depleted worker numbers.
Walker complained that it is too little, too late from the government and with only three weeks to go until the 16 August when some of the self-isolation rules are banished, setting up the testing centres is not worth the hassle.
“There’s a lot of red tape in getting these testing centres set up, it’s a nightmare so with three weeks to go, in my view, it’s simply not worth the effort,” he said.
So far, over 200 testing sites have started testing critical workers, who are exempt from self-isolation, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
It expects 2000 sites to be up and running by the end of August.
Fewer Iceland workers are being pinged now and Walker suggests this might be because they are deleting the app en masse.
“It feels to me like potentially they’re starting to delete the app en masse, in numbers that they weren’t previously doing, and to be honest who can blame them,” he said.