Britain’s economic recovery lost momentum two months ago when the final lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Despite “Freedom Day” in England on July 19, when capacity limits were scrapped and nightclubs reopened, GDP rose by just 0.1 per cent.
Growth slowed by 90 per cent compared to June.
While arts, entertainment and recreation activities spurred the modest increase, it was hamstrung by staff shortages during the “pingdemic”.
Businesses were plunged into chaos in early summer as the number of workers told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid app soared.
Iceland boss Richard Walker had warned that ending lockdown rules before mandatory self-isolation would be a “**** show for business”.
He later claimed in July that four per cent of his 30,000-strong workforce had been quarantined.
Marks & Spencer chief Steve Rowe also said the “exponential” growth in Covid cases meant the supermarket would be forced to close shops.
In some areas of the country, retail absence rates hit 30 per cent.
Without a boost from reopened sports clubs, amusement parks and festivals, Britain would likely have faced a drop in GDP for the first time since January.
It came as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic was “levelling off”.