Quarantine exemptions provide some relief

Specialist technicians such as service engineers, and postal workers involved in the transport of mail, will be exempt from the government’s new quarantine measures – much to the industry’s relief.

Home secretary Priti Patel announcing the new measures in Parliament
Home secretary Priti Patel announcing the new measures in Parliament

Yesterday the Home Office confirmed controversial new restrictions on people arriving in the UK, which are aimed at reducing the chance of future Covid-19 cases being imported into the country.

Passengers arriving in the country will be required to fill in a contact locator form and self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone failing to comply could be fined £1,000.

The new restrictions come into force on 8 June.

The regime will be in place across the UK, although enforcement measures will be set individually by the devolved administrations.

“The Home Office has been working closely with industry partners ahead of announcing these changes. They will be subject to review every three weeks, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary,” the Home Office stated.

However, there are numerous exemptions to the quarantine requirement, including: “Workers with specialist technical skills for essential or emergency works or services (including commissioning, maintenance, and repairs and safety checks) to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods” and “Postal workers involved in the transport of mail into and out of the UK”.

Speaking at the BPIF’s weekly lunchtime webinar last week, chief executive Charles Jarrold commented: “We were all pretty concerned about the impact of that on business, and actually it is going to have an impact on business.

“But the particular concern we had was around the ability to service and maintain equipment, along with most other trade bodies. We’ve fed in representation to government and the government have actually given a number of exceptions… and one of those in particular is specialist technicians who are carrying out essential maintenance and service work.”

Jarrold said that would address an immediate issue, but warned that the quarantine process “would impose significant costs and challenges on business, and the economy.”

The full list of exemptions from the new Covid-19 border rules can be found here.

A Printweek snap poll about whether the government should scrap the plans had resulted in a 50:50 split at the time of writing. 


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