Australian supermarket CEO warns customers about “shelf gaps” under Omicron pressure

The CEO, one of Australia’s largest supermarket retail chains, wrote to customers warning of product shortages during the current wave of Omicron variants. This left a large number of staff isolated and created a gap in the company’s supply chain.

“Unlike the surge in purchases in early 2020 (which you may forget about toilet paper), this is an isolated number of supply chains (from suppliers to truck drivers to distribution center team members) in the supply chain. To store the deliveries, “Brad Banducci wrote in an email on January 7.

“We have experienced more than 20% absenteeism in distribution centers and more than 10% in stores due to COVID so that we can realize the magnitude of the challenge,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
On January 8, 2021, people line up outside the Woolworths supermarket in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, Australia. (JonoSearle / Getty Images)

Banducci said he admitted that Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, was hit hardest and “it’s not yet clear” when the system will return to normal.

“I understand how frustrating it can be if I can’t find the product I’m looking for. We work with our suppliers and supply chain partners to get all our products back to the shelves as soon as possible (Fast Antigen). Including inspection), “he added.

The warning comes after rival supermarket chain Coles relies on limiting the amount of money customers can buy in certain categories, including meat products.

Coles Chief Operating Officer Matthew Swindels said he was experiencing a “round 3” of supply chain turmoil during an ongoing pandemic.

“Remember. The first round of COVID-19 was about toilet paper and was essentially in high demand. The second round when there was Delta was about the isolation of team members. And unfortunately. However, Omicron put together both of them, “Swindels told the Today program on January 5th.

File photo of Coles Supermarket in Sydney, Australia. (Janita Building / NTD)

Former Queensland Prime Minister Campbell Newman has blamed the government’s quarantine rules for staff shortages.

“The fact that essentials are disappearing from supermarket shelves reemphasizes the contradictions, contradictions, and total stupidity of COVID-19 restrictions,” said Newman, who is now a candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party in the Federal Senate. teeth, I wrote on Twitter January 7th.

“Federal and state authorities, this was completely foreseeable. It’s time to open, not double down!”

In September 2021, the delta variant epidemic and staff quarantine emptied shelves at the Coles and Woolworths supermarkets in Sydney and Melbourne, where most of the delta infections were found.

Australians were uploading photos to social media on supermarket shelves. Fruits and vegetables, Meat, bread, dairy products..

However, the spread of Omicron has presented new challenges.

At the end of last year, the government shifted its policy setting regarding the handling of COVID-19 toward “living with the virus”, focusing on high vaccination rates, testing, and the preparation of a hospital system for severe cases of the new coronavirus.

The movement to live with the virus coincided with the beginning of the outbreak of Omicron. This indicates that the number of cases of COVID-19 has increased dramatically and the number of hospitalizations has increased much more gradually.

However, government quarantine rules for close contact have created difficulties for businesses and the medical system, and an increasing number of workers have been forced to self-quarantine after encountering COVID-positive individuals.

Large companies had to deal with supply chain issues, but some small retailers closed their stores altogether due to a lack of staff.

In late December, the federal government and five state governments agreed to narrow the definition of close contact in order to ease pressure on PCR testing clinics and allow businesses to continue operating.

Daniel Y. Ten