The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that all businesses can now apply for free COVID tests for employees.
As part of the government’s roadmap to cautiously lift restrictions, businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can now register to order free lateral flow tests for their employees.
Around one in three people with Coronavirus don’t have symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus in workplaces without knowing. Rapid testing detects cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission.
Regular testing could be the difference between a workplace being able to stay open and operational, or needing to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It will form a crucial part of the government’s plan to gradually and safely ease restrictions as we get back to a more normal life.
Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the BCC, said: “This is really good news. We have long argued that it is critical for workplace testing to be expanded to businesses of all sizes and that this service is in place for as long as is necessary.
“For the Government’s roadmap to work, an effective test, trace and isolate system must fit hand in glove with the vaccination programme. It is fundamental to getting businesses open again, and to keeping them open in the months ahead.
“Accredited Chambers of Commerce will be encouraging more businesses to sign up for free testing before the end of March deadline.”
So far, over 3,500 businesses are signed up to offer workplace testing programmes and over 14,000 have registered their interest in offering rapid testing, with many already rolling tests out.
Businesses have until March 31 to register for the Government’s workplace testing scheme, which will remain free until the end of June. The Government advised that despite the move, all those who could work from home should continue to do so.