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Coronavirus: Some Woolworths stores close to shoppers

Woolworths has shut some of its doors to customers in a major reshuffle forced by the introduction of tough coronavirus Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne.

The retailer is making final preparations in converting three of its locations into distribution centres for online delivery orders.

Customers will be unable to shop in-store at Woolworths in Watergardens South in Melbourne’s northwest, and Dandenong Plaza and Mountain Gate in Melbourne’s southeast from 7.30pm Tuesday.

The three outlets were selected due to the relative close proximity of other stores including Dandenong South and Endeavour Hills, which are within five kilometres of the Dandenong Plaza.

Photo shows front of Woolworths store as Melbourne outlets close doors to customers.
Woolworths will restructure three Melbourne stores to cater to growing demand for deliveries. Source: AAP

The Watergardens, Watervale and Taylors Lakes stores are close to the Watergardens South store and the Ferntree Gully, Scoresby and Boronia stores are close to Mountain Gate.

Staff at the three converted stores will be repurposed to either pack online orders or work in neighbouring stores, the retail giant said on Monday.

“We understand this will be inconvenient for some of our in-store customers and have sought to minimise this as much as we can by converting stores in close proximity to others,” said Woolworths Victoria General Manager Andrew Hall.

“It’s an uncertain time for many in Melbourne and this will ensure we have the delivery capacity to support the essential grocery needs of many more customers online.”

Mr Hall said the conversion would help meet growing demand for grocery deliveries and “support the most vulnerable in the community”.

Product limits have been reinstated for a range of products including staples such as toilet paper, paper towel, bleach, pasta, flour, canned vegetables and eggs.

Under Melbourne's Stage 4 lockdown, people cannot leave their homes between 8pm and 5am unless it is for work, medical care and caregiving.

Photo shows customers standing outside a closed Woolworths store.
Shoppers won't be able to shop in-store from 7.30pm Tuesday at three Woolworths stores in Melbourne. Source: AAP

Shopping will be limited to one person per household per day, within a five-kilometre limit, unless the closest store is beyond that distance.

Coles introduces product limits for customers

At Coles, further product limits have been introduced on meat products - only two packets of mince meat, chicken breasts and chicken thighs can be purchased per customer.

Due to the 8pm Melbourne curfew the last customer will be allowed in at 7.30pm every night and all stores will close at 7.45pm, unless a store's existing trading hours already specify an earlier closing time.

The hours will apply to all Coles supermarkets, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice and First Choice Liquor Market stores. Similarly, Aldi will also close at 7.45pm.

From Thursday most retail businesses in Melbourne will have to close under Stage 4 restrictions. Those with exemptions include supermarkets, pharmacies, service stations, banks and bottle shops.

Victoria's Stage 4 lockdown is expected to run until at least September 13 - six weeks away.

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