Warning to Coles, Woolworths as supermarket exposure balloons

·2-min read

The NSW Police minister has demanded supermarkets comply with Covid rules, as more stores are added to the long list of exposure sites.

Among the new exposure sites identified on Wednesday are several Coles, Woolworths and Aldi supermarkets.

On Wednesday, 14 Woolworths stores were added to the NSW exposure site list, seven Coles stores were added along with eight Aldi supermarkets. A full list of exposure sites can be found on the NSW Health website.

Supermarkets are allowed to stay open during the lockdown, as they are deemed essential.

When shopping at supermarkets in areas subject to lockdown, customers must sign in using the QR code and face masks are mandatory.

Supermarkets in Greater Sydney are reminded they must comply with public health orders. Source: Getty Images
Supermarkets in Greater Sydney are reminded they must comply with public health orders. Source: Getty Images

NSW Police on Tuesday met with supermarket bosses to ask them to ensure Covid safe practices were in place and to request they employ security guards at all stores to make sure customers comply with health orders. 

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said on Sydney radio on Tuesday he'd "had it out" with people over NSW Health's reluctance to enforce compliance at stores due to the bottlenecks it's expected to cause.

Coles chief operations officer Matt Swindells said new arrangements were in place on Wednesday night.

Mr Swindells said Coles was "happy to lean in and do the work", after supermarkets were asked to increase activity at the entrance of stores to ensure compliance.

Speaking to the Today show on Thursday, NSW Police Minister David Elliott said all businesses have an obligation to be "reasonable" when ensuring people comply with the public health orders.

He said given the "vast majority" of businesses on the exposure site list are supermarkets, it's "no wonder" people are reporting shops and businesses doing the "wrong thing" through Crime Stoppers.

There have been reports of supermarket staff being assaulted by customers not complying with Covid measures. Source: Getty Images
There have been reports of supermarket staff being assaulted by customers not complying with Covid measures. Source: Getty Images

"We are asking everybody, particularly the supermarkets doing so well during the pandemic, to comply with the rules," Mr Elliot said.

When asked about incidences of supermarket staff being assaulted, the minister urged supermarkets to report incidents to police and handing over CCTV footage as evidence.

"The police have told these businesses that their obligation is to make sure that there are QR codes and there are people there at the front, whether they be security guards, and the police have said that to the supermarkets," he said. 

"If you believe your staff would be at risk, then spend the extra money and get security personnel put on the door."

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