Online grocery delivery companies recruit extra staff to cope with spike in demand

GROCERY delivery companies are struggling to fulfil demand and are having to bring in extra staff following a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and more people being forced to isolate at home.

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Over the past few weeks the Island has seen the virus grow exponentially, with the number of known active cases topping 1,000 on Monday [21 December].

One apparent side effect of this abrupt increase is that online supermarket-style businesses – which deliver groceries to customer’s doors – are seeing a larger demand for their services, with some even taking on additional staff to cater for it.

Orderit.je director Brian Hughes said the increase in customers was probably due to the greater number of people self-isolating.

‘I think it just follows the increase in cases. As more people have been isolating, obviously they can’t go out and get their own stuff so it’s peaked massively from that.

‘We’ve had to bring in more staff, a couple more vehicles and a lot more stock. Obviously the stock has to try to catch up with that increase in demand. We were increasing anyway as Christmas is usually a busy period but now it will be even busier, with people not able to go out and do all their Christmas shopping. I think that not having to queue outside the supermarket is also a factor. We offer a socially distanced delivery service which allows people to get their groceries without having to go outside the comfort of their own home.’

Meanwhile, Vivien Sinka, marketing co-ordinator at First Choice Groceries, said the company had witnessed a sharp rise in customers in a single evening.

‘There was a government press conference on a Thursday evening, and that evening it just shot up – I also work in the warehouse some evenings and had to call people because we were running late with the delivery times. Since then it has calmed down a little bit but we still have days when it gets very busy.

‘After the sudden increase, we put out a job advert straight away to get more people to be ready for it. We were ok but we could do with more staff so we’ve already recruited a couple of people.

‘We get a lot of custom from people who are self-isolating. In the comments section, when they order, they do say they are in isolation and ask us to leave the items at the door, but we do that anyway just to limit contact.

‘I think we are just being conscientious. We sanitise all the surfaces a lot and make sure these things are done every day. Luckily we don’t have any visitors to the warehouse. We do have a click and collect service but we don’t allow people to enter the building so they just pull up outside, ring the bell and we bring the shopping out to them.’

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