Sunday 25 July 2021 1:23 pm

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin hits out at Test and Trace app

JD Wetherspoon chief Tim Martin has claimed the UK is being “laid to waste” by the Test and Trace app as one-in-eight of the pub chain’s staff are forced to self-isolate.

Martin said 5,000 of his 40,000 staff were pinged by the app last week alone, causing labour shortages at some of the chain’s 925 venues.

“The pingdemic is affecting every aspect of the hospitality business — from production, to maintenance, to deliveries, to the directly employed and the customers,” he told the Sunday Times.

“The country is being laid waste by yet another failed IT system to which naive politicians are in thrall.”

More than 600,000 people in England have been pinged by the Test and Trace app in the past week, leading to some instances of supermarket shortages and widespread fears of economic damage.

The government moved to exempt workers in food and drink warehouses and depots in a bid to ensure no future disruption to supply chains.

Staff in these sectors will instead be able to take tests everyday and continue working as long as they test negative.

The government has also allowed workers in other vital workplaces like police, fire, Border Force, transport and logistics to have the exemption.

It is estimated that around 10,000 staff are now taking part in the scheme.