Self-isolation rules relaxed

The government has cut the length of time that people with Covid-19 have to spend in self-isolation from seven days to five days. The changes will take effect from Monday.

This means that if you or any of your employees get hit by Covid, you’ll not need to spend as long in self-isolation. Although the advice remains to work from home wherever possible.

We asked several business owners what they made of the the relaxed rules. Here’s what they had to say.

Business owners react to a shortening of the self-isolation period

Marcus Wright, MD of Bolton Business Finance: “This will be a great relief for small business who have been hit hard with staff shortages caused by isolation. Staff working in restaurants, pubs and shops simply cannot work from home and the recent disruption has been huge. We were promised life back to normal after the vaccine, so surely it’s time to get on with our lives, stop damaging small businesses and let people exercise their own choices?”

Farrah Allarakha, director of skincare specialists Neo Elegance: “Running a skin clinic, appointments have suffered during the past three months as people have been cancelling because they have been isolating. However, I believe self-isolation measures are important to prevent Covid spreading, especially in the personal care industry where we are in close contact with clients all the time. There needs to be a balance and I think the reduction in isolation is welcome, especially for staff. When you’re a small business with limited staff you can’t afford to have them off for so long in isolation.”

Adam Bamford, co-founder at Derby-based Colleague Box: “Personally I’d like to see an end to self-isolation unless a more serious variant becomes known as the huge numbers we’ve seen recently have had a mild impact on the NHS and most of those problems are being caused by critical workers needing to isolate. So let’s roll up our sleeves and crack on.”

Kevin Bailey, managing director of Shaftesbury-based Wessex Investment Management: “It is time to move on and accept that we need to allow businesses to work unfettered. Yes there will still be issues with staff getting ill but that is normal. We need to learn to live with Covid and say goodbye to the restrictions.”

Graham Cox, founder of the Bristol-based Self-Employed Mortgage Hub: “This feels like the right balance at the moment. Five days is far less onerous on employers and employees alike, especially as part of the isolation period is still likely to fall at the weekend. Hopefully by spring, we’ll fast be approaching herd immunity and we can get back to some semblance of normality.”

Lewis Shaw, founder of Mansfield-based Shaw Financial Services: “They’re making it up as they go along. This is just another announcement to bury the PM’s lies and corruption.”

How a conference call can help with self-isolating employees

Although anyone showing symptoms should be given as much time as they need to recover from Covid, not everyone who tests positive falls particularly ill. In this instance, some self-isolating employees may want to continue working, either to alleviate the boredom or help ensure they don’t return to a bursting in box and to-do list.

If this is the case, you can make sure no employee misses a single meeting by adding them via conference call. Our service can be accessed using a landline or smartphone, and there’s no need to make a reservation or pay any fees outside of the call charges. We’ve dial in numbers for more than 70 countries and up to 100 participants can be added to a single call.