Supermarkets and a cabinet minister urged Britons not to panic buy after warnings that supermarkets face an epidemic of empty shelves this summer unless workers and delivery drivers are exempt from self-isolating when pinged.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng also announced the Government will U-turn and rush out a listing of businesses permitted to disregard the app, less than 48 hours after Downing Street warned there wouldn’t be one.
Kwasi Kwarteng admitted he was concerned about food supply problems but asked customers not to panic buy and said he couldn’t guarantee the pingdemic wouldn’t extend past August 16, when rules were expected to be dropped from the double jab.
Iceland boss Richard Walker has warned that Britain’s creaking food supply chain is on the verge of collapse causing deficits of goods in stores with 1,000 of his workers, approximately one in 20, amongst the 1.7 million Britons currently stuck at home.
Sainsbury, Tesco, Lidl, Morrisons, Asda, M&S and Waitrose are also seeing significant gaps on the shelves in most isles, but specifically frozen food, fresh meat such as minced beef, dairy products such as cheese, pizzas, bottled water, fruit and packaged salad and cooked meats.
Shops and businesses across the United Kingdom are also struggling with staffing levels and petrol stations have also been made to shut because they can’t get fuel delivered.
UK supermarkets are in the middle of a perfect storm of problems with tens of thousands of workers self-isolating because of the NHS app. The struggle to stack shelves and staff stores and warehouses is being made more acute by a shortage of lorry drivers to deliver food.
The Road Haulage Association believes the country is 100,000 HGV drivers short, and thousands of prospective drivers are waiting for their HGV tests due to a backlog caused by lockdown, while many existing ones have returned to the EU from the United Kingdom after Brexit.
Richard Walker said Iceland’s double-pronged problem of staff shortages and a shortage of lorry drivers were forcing them to draft in 2,000 temporary workers to keep the business running.
He said that they were seeing some availability problems and that it was now quite challenging to keep their stores open and keep lorries on the road to their stores to supply food with staff in there to serve the customers.
He said that they’ve closed two stores and had reduced hours in others and that it was ironic that they’ve worked so hard, and that their workers have been nothing short of heroic, to keep the show on the road.
Now there’s a deficit of drivers and the pingdemic has created chaos, and now supermarkets don’t have the products to put on the shelves as there’s nobody to deliver the goods, and why is this happening now, there weren’t so many people getting pinged before – next people will start panic buying again and we should just remove the app.
And when the Track and Trace app first came about, I noticed that people were getting all enthusiastic about using the app like it was a new toy.
I had friends that would go into places and would be doing their Track and Trace and getting all excited, almost like they were setting up a new Playstation and telling me that I should have it on my phone because it was so important.
I did download it to my phone to see what all the excitement was about, and then realised that if my location wasn’t on, then it was worthless, and seeing as I never have my location on, there was no point, so it came straight off my phone.
People should just delete the app unless of course, they’re happy to have time off work!