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Supermarket shelves starting to empty as 'pingdemic' hits shops

Some supermarkets are struggling to keep their shelves full due to staff shortages caused by the ‘pingdemic’.

Images taken today at supermarkets across the UK show bare fruit and veg boxes, as well as freezer cabinets and other aisles.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged the Government act to change self-isolation guidance for workers, warning that shops are under ‘increasing pressure’.

It comes as Britain’s mounting lorry driver shortage also puts increased pressure on the country’s grocery supply chain.

The images from shops are similar to those seen at the start of the pandemic, when people stockpiled toilet roll and other goods out of fear they would begin to run low.

Shoppers have already taken to social media to highlight empty shelves appearing in supermarkets across the country.

Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the BRC, said staff in stores and suppliers should be allowed to work even if they get an alert to self-isolate.






‘The ongoing ‘pingdemic’ is putting increasing pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and keep shelves stocked,’ he said.

‘Government needs to act fast. 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.

‘With community cases soaring, the number of healthy retail staff having to self-isolate is rising fast, disrupting retail operations.’

Food industry bosses also warned that supply chains are ‘starting to fail’ because of workers isolating over coronavirus contacts.

‘On top of the underlying worker shortage, we’re also hearing from some members that between 5% and 10% of their workforce have been ‘pinged’ by the app and asked to self-isolate.

‘There’s a real air of despondency creeping through the industry.’

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