Weather in Seattle mostly blamed for empty grocery store shelves around Anchorage

Rapid spread of omicron variant is adding to the delays nationwide
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 7:59 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:07 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Shoppers should find more selections at the grocery store in Alaska soon, store representatives say.

Severe weather in Seattle had impacted goods that were bound for Alaska and Washington State, according to Tairsa Worman, public affairs manager for Carrs and Safeway. She said a cargo ship delivered more groceries from Seattle on Tuesday, while another is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 16.

Those deliveries are typically on those days, according to the company, depending on the weather.

The latest shipment is welcomed news as Seattle continues to recover from severe winter weather. The snow delayed or shutdown trucking and shipping schedules for several days. It’s a problem currently being seen across the country, as a combination of the rapidly spreading omicron variant of COVID-19 and severe weather has added to existing supply and labor shortages.

However, that’s not the only reason for the shortages for some areas.

Some deliveries are made by truck, as drivers travel through Canada. Safeway does not ship through Canada, a spokesperson said, so that grocery store chain is not affected. Those who do ship through Canada, however, could be.

“For my choice, this is where I’d like to truck, and continue to truck,” said Roy Fischlin, a driver with Richner Trucking.

He has spent the last 10 years delivering groceries and other items to stores, such as Walmart. Those runs from Washington State are about to become more difficult.

Starting Jan. 15, the Canadian government will require U.S. truck drivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter that country. It reverses an earlier exemption for the drivers.

“There’s truckers that — probably about 80% of the truck drivers that I know that I run with out there are basically shutting down because they don’t want to get the vaccination,” Fischlin said.

Meanwhile, shoppers around Anchorage should soon have more choices at the grocery store as more groceries arrived to refill empty shelves.

Clarification: This article has been updated to clarify that Safeway does not ship goods through Canada, and vaccine requirements for truckers through Canada does not affect that grocery store chain’s delivery of goods.

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