Iceland warns of staff shortages as 11% of workforce self-isolates

Supermarkets

Iceland has warned of staff shortages as one in 10 of its workforce are currently self-isolating due to the coronavirus.

The grocer revealed about 3,330 employees were currently isolating at home, accounting for 11% of its entire workforce.

This comes as current government guidelines advises fully-vaccinated people to isolate if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive to Covid-19.

According to the retailer, the absent rates recently were more than double last year’s peak during the so-called ‘pingdemic’, which saw NHS Covid app users, who came into close contact with someone who had tested postive to self-isolate for 10 days.

READ MORE: Iceland trading & ‘strongly’ through Omicron

As a result of staff absences, Iceland closed two stores on New Year’s Day to spread available store workers around.

This comes as Iceland’s managing director, Richard Walker, urged people to get vaccinated amid the case rises of the Omicron variant.

At the time, he tweeted: “Interesting to note that previous lockdowns all coincided with our Covid absence rate breaching 600-650 colleagues. Today’s is 700. Please let’s all get jabbed folks! Last thing we want or business needs is another lockdown.”

However, this plea comes after Walker said that his staff will not make customers wear masks when they became mandatory.

Instead, he said the supermarket would focus on the “long-term recovery of the high street”, suggesting the new rules could “discourage” shopping.

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