Grocery store shelves empty due to labor shortages, winter weather

Empty shelves at local grocery store
Posted at 3:37 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 18:28:01-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Shoppers everywhere are seeing bare shelves at many area grocery stores.

“It is frustrating and when you walk in to see empty shelves,” Cynthia Lambert said.

Erika Marsillac is an associate professor of supply chain management at Old Dominion University. She said labor shortages due to COVID-19 are partly to blame.

“In all the stores I go in, but especially in the grocery stores, the shelves are bare. They’re bare,” Martha Alston said.

Marsillac said workers are calling out at every level, from harvesting to processing to delivering and stocking. She said consumers are also seeing this reflected in their grocery bill.

“Everything is creeping up in price partly because of the labor shortage, because if I don’t have enough people to work, the people that are available to work I might have to hire them at a higher cost,” Marsillac said.

She said on top of COVID, the recent flooding and winter weather also impacted deliveries. She said consumers need to be flexible, and don't panic buy.

"The panic buying makes it worse, because whatever is there gets cleaned out faster than it would normally get cleaned out,” Marsillac said.

She said in a couple weeks, shoppers should see fully stocked shelves.

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