Retail and trucking advocates say Omicron’s isolation rules and shift to online shopping have hit the supply chain hard.
Aimee Hines of Retail NZ said people who can shop in person rather than online should do so to help keep the logistics industry moving.
“There are people who can go to the store who should go,” she said.
“A lot of people go back to delivery because they think it’s the safest option. What we should do is buy in store if you can if you’re not isolated. It can relieve pressure on certain parts of the supply chain, around deliveries.
She said the government had made it clear that it was safe for people to shop in stores at a red light.
New Zealand Couriers told customers in Auckland on Thursday that they should only send critical items as it works to eliminate bottlenecks in its delivery network.
Nick Leggett, of Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting NZ, said their member organizations were reporting major disruptions as the virus spread across the country.
Leggett said staffing issues for lorry drivers were currently concentrated in Auckland.
He said many freight operators were looking at 10-20% absenteeism.
“We actually called on rescue drivers to raise their hands across the country, those people who have heavy vehicle licenses who could lend a hand at this time.”
He said Tāmaki Makaurau’s ports and cargo hubs were under stress.
“It’s really about being patient and acknowledging that those essentials, food and medical supplies, the things that keep us nourished in times of stress — it’s really important that those pass.”
Hines and Leggett also agreed that the isolation rules had a big effect on supply chains.
Leggett said the existing 10-day isolation period was a “real killer” and called on the government to reduce isolation periods for contacts.
“If you look at the lessons that the supply chain can learn from the United States and Australia, this period of isolation up to five days very quickly, because they realized that things were not right be delivered, unless the truckers can return. on the road if they were healthy.