Why are supermarket shelves empty 2021? BP and Iceland close UK stores after thousands of workers ‘pinged’ by NHS app

Pictures started emerging yesterday of empty shelves in major supermarkets across England as thousands of workers have been forced to self-isolate

Shoppers could face more empty shelves in supermarkets within 48 hours unless Boris Johnson fixes the ‘pingdemic’, it was claimed last night.

Food supplies have already been impacted with large numbers of workers having to self-isolate after being contacted by the NHS’s Covid app.

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Pictures started emerging yesterday of empty shelves in major supermarkets across England (SWNS)
Pictures started emerging yesterday of empty shelves in major supermarkets across England (SWNS)

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At a glance: 5 key points

- Pictures started emerging yesterday of empty shelves in major supermarkets across England.

- BP and Iceland could be among the first stores to close, with the former already closing some petrol stations due to issues around fuel supply.

- Iceland also said it was closing a “number of stores” after 1,000 workers were forced to self-isolate.

- Iceland boss Richard Walker told shoppers “there is no need to panic buy” during an interview with Good Morning Britain, and revealed that the supermarket has hired 2,000 temporary workers to help fill gaps with a large number of staff self-isolating.

- The Prime Minister has apologised for the system but said he will not change it.

What’s been said

"Individuals have a large role to play to shop responsibly. Panic buying is only an option for those who can afford it.

"Once shelves are stripped bare it is the most vulnerable that actually suffer.

"There is no need to panic buy."

Iceland boss Richard Walker talking to GMB

“Some stores say they will be in trouble in a couple of days without action.

“Opening hours are already being cut for some chains as well as the issues with getting products in and on shelves.”

Industry insider talking to The Sun

Background

Anyone who has come into contact with somebody who has Covid should receive an alert on their NHS app telling them that they must isolate for 10 days.

This is up until August 16 when people who are fully vaccinated will be exempt.

Figures are set to be released today that are expected to reveal up to a million people are currently off work due to being ‘pinged’ by the app.

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