The hospitality industry is facing major supply chain disruptions due to the impacts of the latest COVID-19 surge in Australia.
Jeff Godden, Director of Godden Food Group and Chairman of NAFDA Foodservice, stated in a recent interview that “We had almost 45 per cent of our drivers off, effective Tuesday. They are starting to trickle back but then we got more calls today from other drivers saying they can’t work due to [being] close contacts.”
Since then, it has been a challenge to get food supplies from the warehouse to customers. Jeff says “We’ve got drivers doing extra work, taking out two loads, taking two deliveries or two runs a day. And getting warehouse people into trucks, doing whatever we can to get stock to customers.” While 90% of supplies where delivered in the past week, Jeff is concerned that the workload will be too much to sustain for his team. In addition to keeping his own business operating, his customer base “is shutting down in droves”.
Food distributors across Australia are facing a major test, with many in the food industry feeling let down with the lack of government support during the current COVID-19 surge. “Based on the government policy around vaccination targets being met, which they did, and borders opening up, living with COVID was the plan and the health advice. That hasn’t happened.” Jeff states.
He fears that as case numbers continue to soar, current close contact rules will become completely unworkable for many businesses where staff need to be onsite: “I think it is just the tip of the iceberg, what I am seeing at the moment. I think it is going to speed up over the next couple of weeks and we are going to have massive shutdowns of hospitality venues, or any venue for that matter.”
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