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Christmas deliveries could be delayed, with some shops planning to close early ahead of 25 December.
With fears growing over the new Omicron variant, which is running rampant through the country, it's thought the festive period could be badly affected.
According to reports, with the numbers of infected rising each day, shops and companies could soon struggle to meet demand. Some are already looking to reduce their hours over the festive period.
Alex Schlagman, from campaign group Save The High Street, told the The Telegraph: "Some are now planning to close early before Christmas.
"This new variant is already having an impact and we are now in the most important festive trading period in the history of the high street."
Royal Mail recently announced that staff having to self-isolate meant that some delays may be experienced.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said operations were fine in most places for now but that a number of local offices had been impacted.
They said: "Deliveries are operating as normal across most of the country.
"We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week.
"In a small number of local offices this may temporarily not be possible due to local issues such as Covid-related self-isolation, high levels of sick absence, resourcing, or other local factors.
"In those cases we will rotate deliveries to minimise the delay to individual customers.
"We also provide targeted support to those offices to address their challenges and restore our service to the high standard our customers would normally receive."
Speaking about the potential disruption, Trades Union Congress (TUC) said it was concerned about the rising number of Covid cases.
A spokesperson told The Telegraph: "There’s a real sense that Covid is taking more of a hold and this could lead to more absences and supply could be disrupted.
"It’s essential that workers know that if they feel unwell they should take time off."
This comes as leaked information from Number 10 claimed that the government was working on plans for a 'two-week lockdown'.
Sources close to Number 10 have said officials are looking into stricter measures to try and curb the spread of the Omicron variant.
According to The Times, officials are looking at bringing in a new 'Step 2' set of rules, which would mean that people would only be allowed to meet indoors for work.
This would have a knock-on effect on the hospitality industry, too, with restaurants, pubs and bars only allowed to serve customers outdoors.
It would also see the return of the 'Rule of Six' for outdoor meetings and the most vulnerable told to shield once again.
But despite fears surrounding the impact of Omicron on the education system, reports state that schools will remain open.
It's understood that plans are currently being put together and will be revealed to ministers in the coming days, with the new measures possibly in place from 27 or 28 December.
The Times reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is yet to approve the plans.
A government spokesperson told LADbible: "The government will continue to look closely at all the emerging data and we’ll keep our measures under review as we learn more about this variant."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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