Hospitality staff told not to download Protect.Scotland app, Scottish Greens claim

Hospitality staff are being asked to put customers and themselves at risk as businesses tell employees not to download the Covid-19 exposure app, the Scottish Greens have claimed.

Hospitality staff have reportedly been told not to download the Protect.Scotland app by employers
Hospitality staff have reportedly been told not to download the Protect.Scotland app by employers

Co-leader of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie, brought up the issue during Topical Questions at Holyrood today and said he had been contacted by several people working in “well-known high street” businesses about the practice.

He said workers have been told to not download the Protect.Scotland app onto their phones or have been asked to keep their phones turned off while on shift, meaning the app will not work.

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Mr Harvie said staff had also been told not to self-isolate if they have been told they are a contact of a positive Covid-19 case and that any absence will be treated as unauthorised and would be unpaid.

Fergus Ewing, the tourism minister, said he hoped the cases being spoken about were the “exception” and not the rule.

Mr Ewing said he believed business leaders are taking Covid-19 responsibilities “extremely seriously”.

He said: “As a matter of general principle, of course employers have an absolute duty to cater for the safety of their staff and their customers, of course they do. Nobody could conceivably disagree with that and everybody must recognise that that is a fundamental duty.

"Mr Harvie hasn’t actually mentioned any specific example. If he has any specific examples, then of course I will consider those should he wish to write to me and it’s correct that I do so with colleagues.

"But I should say, by contrast, I have been in touch as much as anybody in this chamber with businesses over the last ten months on a daily basis, including this morning, and I have to say the overwhelming majority of business leaders take their responsibilities extremely seriously.

"Not only that, but they have invested very substantial amounts of money in the protection of the safety and the health of their staff and their customers, as well as taking all steps to make sure that appropriate training is regarded.

"I do hope and believe that the sights and behaviours that Mr Harvie refers to are the exception and the relatively small exception and not the rule.”

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