Sumary of Supermarkets struggle to stock shelves as ‘pingdemic’ havoc spreads:
- Supermarkets are under “increasing pressure” to keep shelves fully stocked, retail industry leaders have warned as the growing havoc wreaked by the “pingdemic” continues to force thousands of workers to self-isolate.
- With shops in some areas suffering shortages, and firms in sectors from petrol stations to the postal service affected by absences, the government is being urged to include supermarket staff, lorry drivers and other frontline workers on a list of those exempted from self-isolation rules.
- The government has announced that certain industries will be able to apply for staff exemptions, allowing critical workers who are “pinged” by the NHS test-and-trace app to return to work after a PCR test and undertake daily lateral flow tests, rather than self-isolating for 10 days.
- Andrew Opie, director of food at the British Retail Consortium trade body, said staff shortages could have an impact on opening hours and shelf stacking.
- “The ongoing ‘pingdemic’ is putting increasing pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and keep shelves stocked.
- “Retail workers and suppliers, who have played a vital role throughout this pandemic, should be allowed to work provided they are double vaccinated or can show a negative Covid test, to ensure there is no disruption to the public’s ability to get food and other goods.
- The retailer said it had been forced to reduce trading hours and even shut some stores as it experienced staff shortages caused by workers receiving notifications from the NHS test-and-trace app.
- A spokesperson said: “This is a short-term but significant impact and has impacted our ability to supply stores.