Council Leader calls on government to support self-isolating workers and businesses

Businesses and workers in Kirklees who do the right thing should be supported by government. That’s the message Kirklees Council Leader, Councillor Shabir Pandor, is sending to government following changes to rules on COVID-19 isolation.

Cllr Pandor was responding to the government’s announcement today (30 July 2020) that people who show symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 must now spend 10 days in isolation, an increase from seven days.

While the scientific evidence is clear that a longer period of self-isolation can help reduce the spread of the virus, it means increased disruption for businesses who will lose workers for longer and for staff who may lose out financially while they can’t work.

Councillor Pandor said: “Kirklees has seen several workplace outbreaks over the past few weeks. One of the reasons we have been able to deal with them effectively is because we have worked constructively with both businesses and workers. They have voluntarily ceased their operations, cooperated with our public health experts and agreed to test their whole workforce even where they weren’t showing symptoms. All this has helped us get a grip on outbreaks and keep our community safe.

‘‘I’m fully supportive of the Government introducing these new measures to extend the period to 10 days, it’s the right thing to do.

“But the fact is, businesses and workers are currently penalised for doing the right thing. A longer period of isolation will cost them more at a time when many in Kirklees simply can’t afford it.

“I’m calling on the government to help businesses follow the example set by Kirklees by providing a package of support for both businesses and workers so that they don’t lose out while they help contain the spread of the virus.

“A comprehensive package of financial assistance for anyone who can’t work because they’re isolating and for businesses who can’t operate will go a long way to helping us stop the spread of the virus as well as protecting our economy.

“I call on the government to follow the example of Kirklees businesses and do the right thing.

“In Kirklees, rates of infection are four times higher than the national average and the borough has been identified as an area of concern by Government. Local people are doing everything they can to bring these rates down but the Government needs to meet us half way by giving people more assurances that they won’t be out of pocket for doing the right thing and protecting others.”

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