In recent days, social media users from various parts of the United States have shared their annoyance that local supermarkets and grocery stores are looking increasingly empty. Additionally, in some places, stores struggle to restock basic items such as milk, bread, meat, canned soups, and cleaning supplies.
Why are there empty shelves in US supermarkets?
Large supermarkets and small stores are having trouble keeping the shelves stocked. The causes: the increase in coronavirus infections due to the omicron variant, the weather and problems in the supply chain at the national level.
The highly contagious omicron variant is driving a record rise in infections in the United States. Last Monday, the country reported a record 1.35 million new coronavirus cases, while on Tuesday it broke its record for hospitalizations with a total of 145,982 people hospitalized with COVID-19, according to The Washington Post.
The increase in infections is being reflected in supermarket chains and grocery stores across the country, as several workers fall ill, creating staff shortages. Such a shortage of employees appears to be occurring in all industries, affecting logistics and product transportation.
“While there is a lot of food in the supply chain, we anticipate that consumers will continue to experience sporadic disruptions in certain product categories, as we have seen over the past year and a half, due to ongoing supply and labor challenges,” said Jim Dudlicek from the National Grocery Store Association to The Washington Post. “Ómicron has made a bit of a dent in that. So there are more supply challenges and we expect more supply challenges in the next four to six weeks, ”Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran said, according to CNBC.
Meanwhile, many parts of the country, including the Midwest and Northeast, have been hit by severe winter weather that has unleashed dangerous commuting conditions, making it difficult to transport goods and thus generating more. shortage.
For example, last week, a severe snowstorm left thousands of drivers stranded on Interstate 95 outside of Washington, DC, for nearly a full day.