Woolworths shelves bare as staff forced to isolate

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Exploding Covid cases in New South Wales has forced tens of thousands of people into isolation, resulting in a lack of staff in hospitality, healthcare, and retail.

Concerns have been raised over supermarket supplies due to isolating staff, with worried shoppers in Sydney snapping photos of empty shelves.

A photo posted to Reddit shows a fruit and vegetable shelf in an unnamed Sydney store almost completely bare.

"Anyone know what's going on?" the person asked, who said a friend took the photo while getting supplies because they were in self isolation.

A screenshot for a Reddit post shows bare shelves in a fresh produce aisle in a Woolworths store.
The shocking photo was posted to Reddit. Source: Reddit

Isolation to blame for supply issues

One user commented on the post saying they work in a Woolworths warehouse and are running on skeleton staff.

"A lot of people testing positive on the [RATs] and ... waiting on PCR test results," one user commented. "It's only going to get worse in the coming days and weeks."

"At my store we usually get our produce delivery at 4pm-6pm. Today we're expecting it at 2:30am," another user, who also claimed to work for Woolworths wrote.

"Our perishable delivery (milk, yoghurt etc.) was cancelled completely so we have to make do with whatever stock we have leftover from previous days."

Another Reddit user who worked for Woolworths said supply issues will be a problem "for a while."

"I work at one of the main supermarket's distribution centres and can confirm what others in this thread have said," they wrote.

"Covid has stuffed the warehouse completely. Some areas within the warehouse are running at up to half of the regular staff for each shift, resulting in work being hours behind schedule. This will definitely be an issue for a long while."

Photo of a bare salad kit shelf in a Mortdale store.
A store in Mortdale, NSW with bare shelves due to staff members in isolation due to Covid. Source: Facebook

Others reminded people it wasn't only supermarkets that were being affected by the workers isolating.

"My housemate's work (restaurant) is closed cause they literally don’t have enough staff to run the place," another user wrote.

"Everyone’s isolating."

Covid impacting supply chain

A spokesperson from Woolworths told Yahoo News Australia that staff members' isolation has resulted in logistical issues in stores.

"Due to Covid related impacts on our supply chain operations, we’re experiencing delays with some of our stock deliveries to stores.

"Our teams are doing all they can to replenish stock as quickly as possible.

"We thank our customers for their patience and apologise for the inconvenience."

The Woolworths spokesperson said the company could not say how many workers were currently isolating.

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