The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), the UK’s second largest food bank group representing over 500 independent organisations, urged the government to ring-fence services by adding food bank staff and volunteers to the list of critical workers exempt from 10-day isolation rules.
IFAN’s calls came after the government added a raft of industries to the exempt list this week – energy, waste, water, vets, border control, local government, food production and supply – but not food bank volunteers or staff.
“As poverty grips so many communities across the UK, food bank teams too often provide the fourth emergency service to people unable to afford basic essentials,” Sabine Goodwin, IFAN coordinator, told The Big Issue.
“Adding food bank volunteers and workers to the self-isolation exemption list is critical to keep their emergency food services running in the here and now,” she added.
Almost 690,000 people were instructed to self-isolate for 10 days by the NHS Test and Trace app in the week to July 21, government data showed, after Covid cases jumped.