(WHTM) — Remember when you would get off work at midnight, or leave a bar at 1 a.m. and stop at the grocery store for milk? Those days are gone, Possibly forever!
More grocery stores are reducing hours. Sierra King can’t shop for groceries when she works late anymore.
“I would say 10 or 11, but they used to be open 24 hours,” King said.
Nor can Mary Wright.
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“The stores would be open till 11, and now the stores have gone down further from that,” Wright said.
Grocery and mall stores across the country are slashing hours this new year. The labor shortage has combined with Omicron to create a perfect storm of a lack of workers to keep the lights on.
Ray Dietrich, the owner of an IGA grocery store, reduced his hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the winter. But, he hopes to be back up to 10 p.m. this spring.
“A lot of people are sick. And the more people that are sick, the tighter supplies get, the fewer truck drivers we have,” Dietrich said
Dietrich says every day is an unknown. Will the truck they expected to show up, and if so, what will be on it? And will any employees call in sick that day?
“Little bit short-staffed? Yeah, we got openings. I won’t lie to you. We got an ad out right now for help wanted, “Dietrich said.
Stores are using the few night employees they do have to restock shelves, rather than man cash registers. Walmart says it ended its 24-hour operations when the pandemic hit and has no plans to resume them. Kroger says it also ended its 24 hour-days at most of its grocery chains in 2020
Starbucks also has been reducing its evening hours at many stores.
Ray Dietrich says his family-owned IGA, everyone is working harder so they don’t have to shut down earlier.
“We can make it, we make it work, we cover for each other,” Dietrich added,
But with so many grocery workers in quartine, shoppers need to plan on earlier closing surprises until spring. That way, you don’t waste your money.