With chronic labour shortages happening in the business and agriculture sectors, there is a clamour from business groups and unions to drop or scale back COVID 19 close contact rules.
As Easter and school holiday travellers faced another day of lengthy queues at airports, partly due to a lack of staff, Business Council of Australia boss Jennifer Westacott said customers were facing a perfect storm of labour shortages, “isolation rules that keep thousands of people who aren’t sick at home.”
“Workers who don’t have COVID-19 should be allowed to work,” Westacott said. Health Services Union president Gerard Hayes agreed. “If you are fully vaxxed, return a negative test and have no symptoms, you should be able to go to work,” he said.
Currently, national cabinet rules require close contacts of COVID cases to isolate for seven days, though there are some exemptions for key workers. Officials in NSW and Victoria are working with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to determine which restrictions could be scaled back.
The Australian Electoral Commission is also negotiating with states and territories for close contacts who aren’t COVID-positive to be able to physically attend polling stations on May 21.
Due to the strains of labour shortage impacting services and the economy, some states already have implemented of exemptions for various types of workers.
Today's COVID figures for NSW showed cases down 2.5k. In hospital/ICU cases are also down a little. Using a weekly comparison, cases are down 5k from last Friday.