Shelves laid bare as COVID-19 spreads among supermarket and supplier workers

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Frustrated with finding bare shelves in your local supermarket? You’re not alone.

The rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases is blamed on food and supply shortages in some stores across Australia.

Watch the video above to learn more about the shortages

Coles told Sunrise the recent spike in infections caused major logistical disruption, with staff, truck drivers and distribution center workers among those forced to stay home with the virus or on standby. test results.

“Disturbance levels are a challenge, we are emerging from a very busy Christmas season and the number of Omicron isolations is increasing rapidly,” COO Matthew Swindells said on Wednesday.

Shoppers were shocked to find empty shelves in their local supermarkets. Credit: Sunrise

“This puts a lot of pressure not only on our own supply chain, but also on our suppliers. “

Mr Swindells said the problem was not a lack of stock, but the management of the logistics to get the products to the stores and to the shelves.

“People can see gaps in the shelves of the products they are used to buying,” he confirmed.

“But you can still buy in the whole category, it could be a different brand or a different package size.

“It’s a new year, you might want to try a different product for a change.

“You can still do a good grocery store, but it won’t necessarily be the full offer you’re used to.”

Coles says the supply issues are expected to continue for a few weeks.
Coles says the supply issues are expected to continue for a few weeks. Credit: Sunrise

Mr Swindells said it “is probably going to take a few weeks” for supply chains to “recover” and the supermarket to ensure basic groceries are restocked on a priority basis.

“We are focused on providing products that are what people expect to see in their main store. “

“What we really need to do is make sure that team members who are isolating can get tested and get back to work quickly and safely.”

Woolworths also said the ongoing COVID crisis was causing disruption and that he was doing everything possible to restock stores as quickly as possible.

“The pandemic has posed many challenges over the past two years and will continue to do so as we enter this next phase,” a spokesperson wrote.

Half of the truckers are not on the road

The Transport Workers Union says Australia’s supply chain is under significant pressure, with up to 50% of truck drivers absent due to COVID-19.

Michael Kaine, national secretary of the TWU, said the long queues for PCR tests and the shortage of home test kits were to blame.

“The TWU wrote to the Prime Minister in October urging the government to provide rapid testing for road transport workers to avoid unnecessary delays and keep drivers on the road,” Kaine said.

“Instead, we have a completely predictable scenario where drivers deliver quick tests for sale on supermarket and drugstore shelves – but they, like most Australians, can’t access them themselves. “

The union calls on the federal government to provide rapid and free antigen testing to transport workers to “keep Australia on the safe road.”

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