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See empty shelves at the grocery store? Blame it on the worker shortage

Top stories from across Hawaii and around the world, as seen on the 6 p.m. news broadcast from Hawaii News Now.
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 6:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the pandemic continues, some nervous shoppers worry when they can’t find what they want at the store.

But food distributors said there’s no shortage of food and that it’s likely due to a shortage of workers.

“The shortages you’re seeing in the shelves across Hawaii right now are caused more so by a temporary labor shortage and not a food shortage,” said Chad Buck, CEO and owner of the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance.

That’s because workers who got infected during the recent Omicron surge and coworkers who are close contacts have had to quarantine for 10 days away from work.

“We’re certainly seeing issues when a company doesn’t have enough drivers,” he said.

According to Buck, some specialty foods have been in short supply due to supply chain issues.

But basic foods items like milk, meat and bread are in good supply, he said.

Buck believes the staffing shortage problems, which aren’t isolated to the food business, are temporary.

He said the CDC’s and the state’s recent decision to reduce the quarantine time from 10 days to five days will get workers back on the job quicker.

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