By Tiffany Chan

MILTON (CBS) – A lap around the grocery store and you may have noticed some bare shelves. One local grocer believes the contagious Omicron variant is to blame.

“There are less things on the shelves when you’re looking for specific stuff,” said shopper Lisa Maki.

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Supply shortages vary from store to store. From fresh produce to poultry, some everyday items are temporarily out of stock.

“Cereal, a lot of dried goods,” said shopper Johanna Lane. “Lots of things for the kids.”

Michael Mignosa, co-owner of Fruit Center Marketplace in Milton, told WBZ-TV that a surge in COVID-19 cases is delaying shipments.

“Because of warehouse shortages, because of truck driver shortages – companies are either shipping partial orders, not shipping orders at all or other orders are pushed a few days ahead,” said Mignosa.

It all depends on if and when delivery trucks arrive – and with what.

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“From week to week, day to day, we’re flying by the seat of our pants,” Mignosa added. “They don’t have the product themselves or they don’t have the staff to ship the orders.”

He’s telling customers to brace for empty shelves until at least February.

“We make due. We get what we can get when we can get it,” said Lane.

When demand exceeds supply, groceries can get more expensive.

Shopper Brigid Casey has noticed the price increases. She said, “Prices are off the charts for a middle-sized family to eat. It’s almost cheaper to go to McDonald’s.”

While it’s frustrating for shoppers and workers alike, Mignosa is asking for flexibility and patience in the weeks ahead.

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“We hope that this will last for a few more weeks and we’ll be able to settle in a little bit,” he said.

Tiffany Chan