Coronavirus: Woolworths unveils 'innovative' new tool for shoppers in lockdown

Woolworths shoppers in Victoria will have the ability to “book in” their visit to avoid waiting outside and check on queues before leaving home.

A series of coronavirus protocols have been rolled out in select stores across the state, which is about to enter one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.

By using the supermarket’s web tool called Q-Tracker, shoppers can check ahead of time how long they will have to wait in line at their closest store.

Woolworths shoppers in Victoria can book in their shop and check the queue before leaving home.
Customers at Woolworths stores across Victoria can book in their shop and check the queue before leaving home. Source: Google Maps/Aust Shaun

Alternatively, they can select the “book your shop” option, and indicate a day and time they want to enter the store without waiting outside in a queue.

Woolworths expanded the booking feature to a total of 44 Victorian outlets following a successful trial in four Melbourne stores.

“We’ll continue to look for new and innovative ways to build on our existing COVIDSafe protocols and procedures to ensure they’re as robust as they can be,” Woolworths General Manager for Victoria Andrew Hall said.

Customers with smartphones are also being encouraged to scan a code when they enter 11 supermarkets in Victoria and one in NSW to register their details to be easily traced in the instance of an outbreak.

The retail giant said it would not be compulsory for shoppers to “check in” with their person information, which would be used only if there was a confirmed case in the store.

“Contact tracing is an essential step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and we want to do our bit to support the broader public health effort,” Mr Hall said.

“While checking in and sharing contact details will be voluntary for our customers, we encourage shoppers to make use of it in our trial stores.

“Doing so will enable health authorities to make rapid contact with potentially impacted customers in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our stores.”

At Woolworths, limits are in place for a range of products including staples such as toilet paper, paper towel, bleach, pasta, flour, canned vegetables and eggs.

Three of Woolworths’ stores in Victoria have been closed entirely to customers and converted into product distribution centres due to soaring demand for delivery groceries.

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

Melbourne shoppers can check the wait time and book their shop using Woolworths's Q-Tracker function.
Melbourne shoppers can check the wait time and book their shop using the supermarket's Q-Tracker function. Source: Woolworths

The last customers at Coles, Woolworths and ALDI in Melbourne will be allowed in at 7.30pm every night and all stores will close at 7.45pm, to ensure the supermarkets comply with their 8pm cutoff.

Essential stores such as supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open throughout the six-week, stage-four period.

Under the new restrictions, residents of metropolitan Melbourne must follow an 8pm-5am curfew and can't travel more than five kilometres from home for shopping or exercise.

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