Pub boss: People are turning off NHS app to avoid being pinged

4 July 2021, 12:44 | Updated: 4 July 2021, 17:22

A pub boss says his staff are being pinged and that affects if his businesses can open
A pub boss says his staff are being pinged and that affects if his businesses can open. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

The NHS app pinging system is "starting to crumble" and the Government would be "wise to move on from it", a pub boss has told LBC.

Peter Borg-Neal, the founder and Executive Chairman of the Oakman Group, which runs 35 pubs, said has had to partially close two and expects another to completely shut today because of staff availability.

With Covid spreading quicker due to fewer restrictions in England – but ministers hoping vaccinations mean it will not bring high amounts of serious illness – bar staff are having to isolate after being pinged by their app.

This has impacted worker availability across the hospitality sector.

Mr Borg-Neal said frustrations with the NHS app have led double-vaccinated people choosing to forgo using it.

"We do comply with the law. So we wouldn't get rid of it, but what is happening is people are getting rid of it," he told LBC's Tom Swarbrick.

"So for example, people I spoke to who are double jabbed are choosing to turn the app off, they feel they're safe and they don't want to be inconvenienced by being pinged.

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"So I think the system is starting to crumble anyway, and Government would be wise to move on from it."

However, he welcomed the news that ministers want to move on from Covid laws to focusing on advice and personal responsibility.

This could see mask-wearing and social distancing become an individual choice instead of a requirement.

Hospitality will be boosted if the one-metre social distancing rule and QR code scanning are done away with after July 19, the next phase of England's lockdown being lifted.

However, Dr Penelope Toff, co chair of the British Medical Association, said some measures should stay to try and keep Covid cases down.

She said: "It won't be mandated but people have always wanted to do the best for themselves and their families, particularly where they have vulnerable family members.

"We know that these vaccines are never going to work in everybody and... we still have a significant number of people who haven't had the vaccinations yet.

"So, it is going to be very important for people to continue to wear face coverings, particularly in public, indoor settings on public transport and shops and so on, particularly where adequate ventilation and distancing is not possible."