'It's a relief': Hospitality businesses welcome self-isolation change

Hospitality businesses in Wales have welcomed news that fully-vaccinated adults will soon not have to isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive.

Children and young people under 18 will also be exempt from the need to self-isolate if they are identified as close contacts of a positive case.

The change will come into effect from 7 August - the same day Wales could move to Alert Level Zero, when most coronavirus restrictions will be lifted.

The so-called 'pingdemic' has seen record numbers of people ordered to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app in Wales and England, leaving many industries short-staffed.

Record numbers of people have been ordered to self-isolate. Credit: PA Images

Sam Speller owns a family-run vegan restaurant in Cardiff and says fewer people having to self-isolate will be good news for the industry.

"I welcome it. I think it's the right decision," he told ITV News.

"I think all of hospitality is going to welcome the ability to open more freely, have more customers in, and not have the worry of losing their staff - because staffing in hospitality is a big problem at the moment."

Sam's team is small and close-knit, so a if someone on the team was 'pinged' by the app and had to self-isolate they would currently have no choice but to shut up shop.

He said: "We would be closed at really short notice, so we'd have loads of stock that we'd already paid for, already bought in - and then we're shut. It means a massive amount of money down the drain, really, so that has been the worry while this has been going on."

Sams says everyone on the team has had at least one dose of the vaccine, and most are now double-jabbed too.

He branded the announcement "a relief", adding: "That kind of worry of the 'ping' is going to go, which is great.

"There's a balance to be had between relaxation and safety. I'm fairly optimistic for the future."

Colleague Jessica Newton agrees. She told ITV News: "We really welcome the changes. It will be huge for us not to have to isolate for ten days if we're double-vaccinated."

The Welsh Government said it was in a position to lift the rules around self-isolation after the country hit the 80% mark for adults being fully vaccinated, with the rollout now being extended to the under-18s.

It said the changes will help "ease the pressure on vital services" caused by the recent rapid rise in Covid cases driven by the Delta variant over the last two months.

Latest data from Public Health Wales on Friday showed 2,047,616 adults are now fully-jabbed against coronavirus.

James Karran runs St Canna's Ale House in Cardiff.

James Karran runs a micropub in Cardiff and also welcomes the changes to the self-isolation rule.

He told ITV News: "Two weekends ago, two of our staff who were working on a Saturday got pinged. So all of a sudden, we're without Saturday staff."

On the prospect of further easements to Covid rules, James said: "I'm excited, but also with a degree of caution. We want to still be safe, and we want people to know that we're safe, so it's trying to find that balance really.

"I think initially it might be quite confusing for people, because everyone's going to have different rules - but that's been the story this last year. So I think by now people are probably used to being confused!"

A final decision on the move to Alert Level Zero for Wales is expected later next week.