Coronavirus: Woolworths and Coles make drastic change to limit shoppers in-store

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Woolworths and Coles will roll out additional social distancing rules in an effort to ensure customers can be kept a safe distance from each other throughout the inevitably busy Easter period.

Customers may need to queue outside under new restrictions, which depending on the size of the store will have a capped capacity on how many people can be inside at a given time.

From Monday at both retailers, staff will stand at the entrance and allow people through one at a time, operating with a “one in one out” policy.

These measures are designed to ensure each person has their required four square metres of space while inside, with the 1.5-metre rule to be policed in queues of customers outside.

Woolworths will also extend its trading hours to be open until 10pm at most locations. Source: Google Maps

“Depending on how busy the store is, we may limit the number of people entering the store from time to time. Customer limits will be specific to each location and based on the size of the store,” Woolworths managing director Claire Peters said.

“Our store managers will use common sense discretion to manage this in the interest of community safety. We know it may take some getting used to but we ask our customers to be patient with us during this time.”

Ms Peters also announced on Saturday morning that most of the retailer’s stores would be extending its hours to avoid long wait times for customers waiting to do their shopping.

“We are extending our opening hours next week to 10pm in nearly all of our stores so people can plan their shop,” she told Nine’s Today Show.

Coles will also adopt the strict measure of limiting shoppers in-store to combat the coronavirus spread. Source: Google Maps

“Some of our stores which are more busier trading stores will have certain times of the day where a limit will be imposed.”

Coles announced on its social media account its new “speedy shopper” guidelines, asking people to line up at the entrance before being waved through by a staff member onwards from Monday.

Customers were also asked to keep a trolley-length between themselves and others while shopping, and to shop by themselves where possible.

Additional measures

Coles last week revealed its $1 million per week spending on keeping up supply of 12,000 litres of hand sanitiser in stores across the country for staff and customers.

It also implemented a new requirement on how customers should stack their groceries when checking out, asking them to load items at the end of the belt, then pack their own groceries.

Both Coles and Woolworths now have floor stickers at their checkouts marking the 1.5-metre distance to be kept between customers at all times.

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