The strict new Covid requirement for Coles and Woolworths stores

·3-min read

As Covid continues to spread in NSW, supermarkets could be forced to hire security guards to ensure shoppers are checking in using QR codes and wearing masks. 

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said he's "had it out" with people over NSW Health's reluctance to make supermarkets comply with Covid-19 rules, telling Sydney radio station 2GB that some supermarkets haven't been enforcing the rules.

The minister said the supermarkets were due to attend a teleconference with police on Tuesday morning over stepping up compliance of Covid health orders.

"We will be telling the supermarkets ... they must employ security guards," he said on Tuesday.

A woman walking past a Woolworths sign wearing a mask.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said some supermarkets haven't been enforcing Covid-19 rules including check-ins and wearing a mask.

"My message to the supermarkets is simple: Regardless of the law, you’ve got a moral obligations to your customers to make sure they’re safe,” Mr Elliott told the radio station.

“They will be told exactly what is expected of them and also to say that the supermarkets have to take reasonable steps to ensure compliance."

A quarter of recent exposure sites are supermarkets

Shopping for food or other essential goods and services is one of the four reasons to leave home under current stay-at-home restrictions.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said she wasn't surprised at the number of supermarkets listed as exposure sites.

"People have to eat," she said on Tuesday, adding supermarkets were essential during the citywide lockdown and suggesting businesses should minimise the number of customers inside and ask people to wait outside.

NSW Police confirmed to Yahoo News Australia they are consulting with supermarkets over 'strengthening their COVID-safe plans within stores'.

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that they spoke with the NSW Police on Tuesday afternoon and confirmed that their existing health ambassadors, who have been in place to assist customers with QR code check-in for some time, meet the requirements under the health orders.

"Our customers have responded well to the government's check-in mandate and the overwhelming majority continue to do the right thing in our stores," they said. 

NSW records 199 new cases of Covid-19

NSW recorded 199 cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealing she wants to achieve 6 million jabs by the end of August, which would drastically increase the likelihood of restrictions easing by the end of the month.

"Even one dose of the vaccine reduces the likelihood of how transmissible you are, how contagious you are," she said in Tuesday's press conference.

"So not only is the vaccine really important to keep you out of hospital, to protect your loved ones, but it reduces the number of people you may infect and that's really important to consider when you're in the middle of an outbreak."

Four reasons to leave home under lockdown

  • Shopping for food or other essential goods and services (one person per household per day)

  • Medical care or compassionate needs (only one visitor can enter another residence in circumstances of compassionate needs)

  • Exercise with no more than one other person (unless members of the same household)

  • Essential work or education where you cannot work or study from home.

Sydney's current lockdown restrictions

  • Outdoor public gatherings limited to two people (excluding members of the same household)

  • People must exercise within 10km of their home

  • No carpooling with members of other households

  • Browsing at shops is prohibited, and only one person per household per day may leave the home for shopping

with AAP.

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