Dedicated hours for the elderly to get groceries

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Coles and Woolworths Australia wide have introduced a temporarily dedicated shopping hour for the elderly, vulnerable, and disabled following the unprecedented demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.

From Tuesday 17 March at Woolworths and Wednesday 18 March at Coles between 7am and 8am only those with a relevant Government issued concession card will be able to shop. After this first hour, all customers will be welcome.

The move has been prompted by the unprecedented demand in supermarkets over the past week, which has seen many elderly and vulnerable people in the community missing out on vital items they may need when they shop.

At Woolworths, the revised opening hours are in place at this stage until this Friday 20 March, with Woolworths to review opening arrangements at that point.

Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters said: "While we’ll continue to do our very best to restock our stores during this period of unprecedented demand, we know many of our elderly customers have been missing out on essential items when they shop.

"This temporary measure will give them, and those with a disability, the opportunity to shop before our stores officially open - helping them obtain the essential items they need most in a less crowded environment.

“We continue to encourage all Australians to be mindful of those in our communities who might need extra help at this time. Now - more than ever - we need to be kind to each other, especially to those most vulnerable.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused by the revised opening hours,” Ms Peters said.

Coles CEO, Steven Cain, urged all Australian’s to just shop as they usually would to ensure that everyone in the community has access to their share of grocery items.

“Coles is taking all possible steps to improve the level of stock on our shelves for the community. Our team members, suppliers and transport partners have been working as hard as possible delivering more products to stores every day and replenishing shelves of popular products such as toilet paper, long-life pantry staples and healthcare items as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We have also significantly increased the number of team members working in our stores to support this level of unprecedented demand and we are actively recruiting for 5000 more casual team members.”

Woolworth stores will shut nationally at 8pm on Wednesday and reopen at 7am Thursday in a bid to allow staff to replenish stocks while Coles has also announced they will close their stores no later than 8pm to give their team members the time and space to extensively clean the stores and replenish the shelves for customers the next day.


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