Supermarkets are under" increasing pressure "to keep shelves well stocked, industry executives have warned. retail as the growing havoc caused by the "pingdemic" continues to force thousands of workers to self-isolate .
With stores in some areas suffering from shortages and businesses in areas ranging from gas stations to postal services affected by absences, the government is urged to include staff from supermarkets, truck drivers and other frontline workers on a list of people exempt from self-isolation rules.
The government has announced that some industries will be able to request personnel exemptions, allowing critical workers who are "pinged" by the NHS test and tracing application to return to the work after a PCR test and perform daily lateral flow tests, rather than if-isolation for 10 days.
But it didn't not yet published a list of sectors that can participate in the program and there will be no list of critical workers exempted from self-isolationautomatic ent; instead, exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
With the number of those expected to benefit from the exemptions relatively small, bosses are concerned and frustrated that thousands of workers will continue to have to self-isolate when interviewed.
Andrew Opie, director of food at the organization commercial British Retail Consortium, said staff shortages could impact opening hours and stacking shelves.
"The Continuing 'pingdemic' places increasing pressure on the ability of retailers to maintain business hours and keep shelves stocked. The government must act quickly, ”Opie said. “Traders and suppliers, who have played a vital role throughout this pandemic, should be allowed to work provided they are doubly vacant.or may test negative for Covid, to ensure that there is no disturbance in the public's ability to obtain food and other goods. "
Grocery chain Iceland aims to recruit 2,000 additional people to help cover absences . The retailer said it was forced to cut trading hours and even shut down some stores due to staff shortages caused by workers receiving notifications from the NHS test and traceability app.
Richard Walker, the head of Iceland, said a handful of outlets were forced to close after more than 1,000 workers - just over 3% of the group's total - were asked to self-isolate after getting screwedby the application.
He said the problems were mixed - some stores experiencing much higher vacancy rates than others - while the number of people outside isolation "increased by about 50% a week later week, and it was really alarming ".
Walker called the government to urgently adjust the rules of the application or self-isolation, before the changes scheduled for August 16. "Supermarkets need to focus on feeding the nation, not government services," he said. He said about 96% of people alerted by the NHS app who worked for Iceland had not tested positive for Covid-19.
There were also reports on social media that supermarkets in some areas lack basic supplies including milk, eggs, breadand rice.
Tesco said it ran out of bottled water in its warehouses, while the Co -op said that supplies in "a large majority " of its stores had been cut off "due to the impact of Covid / the isolation of colleagues ".
A spokesperson said:" This is a short term but significant impact and has had an impact on our ability to supply stores. These issues impact a large majority of Co-op stores.
The Daily Telegraph also reported that police forces across the country were affected. In Dorset, a third of control room staff were on sick leave after being warned or testing positive for Covid.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner cautioned the public to expect longer response times tocalls. He said: "We suddenly find ourselves canceling days off and canceling time off and bringing in officers from other teams to fill in the gaps. However, our call times will increase, we will miss some calls that we would normally take because we have less resiliency in the call center. "
The warnings come in as the British Meat Processors 'Association (BMPA) said some factories had already been hit with staff shortages of up to 16%, even without the impact of the pandemic.
"In addition to underlying labor shortage , we are also hearing from some members that between 5% and 10% of their workforce has been 'pinged ' by the [health service] application and asked to self-isolater, "said BMPA chief executive Nick Allen.
The shortage of workers has affected meat products that require more labor to produce, he said, which means that these lines would be the first to be cut.
The problem of self-isolation adds to the shortage of delivery people, especially heavy truck drivers, caused by a mix of Brexit, Covid and tax rule changes.
BP said that Industry-wide truck driver shortages were causing temporary fuel supply problems which saw a "handful" of its UK sites temporarily shut down. The oil giant's supply chain had also been hit by the closure of a fuel distribution terminal because of Covid isolations among staff last week.
CepMeanwhile, BP told the BBC that the "vast majority " of the shortages were "resolved within a day ".
Royal Mail said that , in a "limited number of areas " services were disrupted due to Covid-related absences.
Major retailers say rates of Absence is currently around 10%, which is well below the peak of the pandemic last spring, but difficult to manage as some stores and product categories are hit harder.
Some stores have absence rates of up to 30%, with the North East and North West of England most affected, while key deliveries in parts of the country have also been affected.
The surges in demand for fresh fruits, salads and other staples in hot weather caused by the sudden heat wave also added todifficulties. Unusually high demand in holiday destinations has also led to shortages as delivery systems struggle to keep up.