A concerned shopper has slammed a NSW Coles store's response to the state's Covid spike as "not good enough" as supermarkets are inundated with panic buyers.
The shopper posted two posts to Coles’ official Facebook page, where she addressed her concerns about the store’s implementation of Covid-19 rules.
The posts include a photograph of customers clustered together at the front aisle of the Rhodes store in Sydney's inner west. Some of them are not wearing masks.
The customer’s Facebook post reads: "Not good enough Coles Rhodes. No social distancing, people allowed to cram in.
"No Covid check-in in a clear and prominent place. Lift your game.”
She then shared a second post nine minutes later, adding the phrase “no care at all” to the original text.
The next day, the customer commented, “And now voila! A Covid case in Rhodes” on the post.
Two exposure sites in Rhodes were identified after an infected person visited the Bare Witness Cafe on June 23, and the Orange Supermarket on June 22.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that the number of Covid cases may rise “considerably” as she announced 18 new locally acquired cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours.
Coles says customer health and safety 'remains top priority'
The supermarket responded to the customer’s post, saying: “...we want to let you know that we’re working closely with the Department of Health to ensure the most effective protection for both you and our team members in stores during the Covid-19 situation”.
“We trust you’ll notice an improvement in the future," the spokesperson wrote.
Following the customer’s concerns, Yahoo News Australia reached out to Coles for comment, and a spokesperson said: "the health and safety of customers and team members remains Coles’ top priority".
"Where required by the government, we ask our customers ensure they are wearing a face mask before entering our stores, unless they have an exemption – and the same rules apply to our team," the spokesperson said.
"We have increased the frequency of cleaning in high touchpoint areas including self-checkout screens and keypads, in addition to our existing safety and hygiene measures in stores to help keep our customers and team members safe.
"We will continue monitoring customer numbers and encourage them to use the sanitising stations at the entrance to our stores, which include hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes for trolleys, before they enter," the spokesperson said.
"We also ask that customers check-in each time they visit our stores by scanning the QR Codes on display at the front of the store, above the sanitiser stations within the store, or at the checkouts.”
'Lift your game': Shoppers weigh in as supermarkets called out
The customer’s later post generated a strong response, with shoppers expressing a variety of views.
“Surely the customer can be responsible for their own actions?” said one.
“Coles staff should be monitoring who comes and goes from the store,” said another.
“And this is why we are in this predicament yet again!” commented one woman.
Many supermarkets are being called out for their response to Covid-19.
A NSW Aldi has been questioned by customers for not presenting a QR code at the entry of the store.
Panic buying chaos threatening Covid-19 rules
Some shoppers have attributed the crowded Coles photo to panic buying amidst the lockdowns.
“What do you expect from panic buyers, all because of a 6pm lockdown?” one man said.
A 20-year-old man suffered from a knee dislocation and was tended to by paramedics after allegedly being caught up in panic buying at Woolworths.
One man tweeted photos of empty bread and meat shelves at Woolworths, calling it “ridiculous and unnecessary panic buying."
A woman shared photos of empty toilet paper shelves in Woolies at Bowral, while a shopper at Coles at The Entrance was pictured stacking their trolley high with toilet paper and paper towels.
A Coles representative has asked shoppers to “stay calm, shop normally and be respectful to our hard-working team members.”
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