SALT LAKE CITY — Even though some grocery shelves are bare, the food supply is fine, Utah suppliers want residents to know.
Darin Peirce, vice-president of operations for Associated Retail Operations, said shipments come in every day, and the most needed or requested items get stocked as quickly as possible. But until consumers go back to normal buying habits, there are going to be some bare spots on store shelves each day.
Peirce said as people became concerned about having enough needed items to outlast possible quarantines, the first thing to run out on the shelves was paper products and cleaning supplies. Then, a second wave wiped out most of the meat and produce.
The latest run on food supply items in his stores appears to be on baking supplies, like flour and sugar. He said Associated Foods, which operates Macey’s, Dan’s, Dick’s Market, Lin’s and Fresh Market stores in Utah, is taking steps to make sure all the needed items are available at the start of every shopping day.
Peirce said store hours in Utah are now 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. This gives employees enough time to not only stock shelves, but sanitize as well.
And the workers need down time. Peirce said constant demands from customers is a strain not only on supplies but also on the staff.
Along with shorter hours, Associated Foods is increasing sick leave for all employees if they’re required to self-quarantine. And they’ll have more paid leave if they actually contract COVID-19.