Travellers arriving in the UK are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Unemployment continues to rise, and many small and medium companies are being forced into insolvency. For business travellers who have only just started restoring relationships with overseas contacts, the self-isolation requirement rules out any possibility of doing business over the coming years.
The next few months may bring a new wave of economic depression and broken hopes as well as another round of massive government support coming from virtually empty Treasury coffers.
To help mitigate the situation, a group of business community representatives have launched a petition in Parliament to exempt business travellers and their families from the 14-day self-isolation requirement replacing it by testing at the border, to be paid for by travellers themselves.
Even if offered at £200-300, the testing would provide travellers with a conscious choice: use the service and continue working or self-isolate. This is particularly relevant for family businesses.
Statements made at daily Government briefings lead us to believe that we have enough stockpiled tests, experience and staff to do on-the-spot testing at airports, train stations and ports. Besides, paid testing would enable us to secure additional support for labs and NHS staff while improving statistical data for travel-related cases.
To the business community, I say every signature is a vote for your businesses and freedom of movement. To the wider nation, I say every signature is a vote to save our economy.