Woolworths reveals new social distancing rules for shoppers

Woolworths has made a number of changes to counter panic buying amid the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

Australia has more than 920 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Saturday morning.

In an email to customers on Friday, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the supermarket is making a number of changes as “it is no longer business as usual”.

One of the new guidelines shoppers are being asked to follow is a “distance guide”.

General view outside a Woolworths in Sunbury as people wait outside in Australia.
Woolworths will continue its shopping hour for the elderly and people with disabilities. It's pictured happening here in Sunbury, northwest of Melbourne, earlier this week. Source: Getty Images

“These include using the size of your trolley as a distance guide between you and other shoppers, following markers on the floor at the checkouts and using tap-and-pay whenever you can,” Mr Banducci said.

“We’d also ask that you wash or sanitise your hands before you come into a store.”

He added “as an extra precaution” the supermarket’s staff have “significantly” increased cleaning from five to 10 hours a day.

A customer carries a laden shopping basket at a Woolworths in Sydney.
Shoppers are being asked to follow guidelines in regards to social distancing. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

“We’ve also upgraded to hospital-grade disinfectant and are focusing on regular cleaning of counters and other surfaces,” Mr Banducci said.

“And as well as thorough hand washing, you’ll start to see many of our team - including checkout operators - wearing protective gloves.”

Mr Banducci said the supermarket has introduced priority deliveries for “the elderly, people with disability and those in mandatory isolation”.

To access it, shoppers need to fill out a form.

A sign warning customers about social distancing in a Woolworths in Sydney.
A sign tells Sydney shoppers about Woolies' new social distancing policies. Source: Supplied

He said despite a “rocky start”, the supermarket would continue its dedicated shopping hour between 7-8am for the elderly and those with disabilities.

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