Woolworths reveals 'critical' new scheme amid coronavirus crisis

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

More Australians will soon have easier access to essential grocery items amid the coronavirus pandemic in a new scheme being rolled out by Australia Post and Woolworths.

Elderly people, those with a disability, with compromised immunity or in mandatory isolation will be able to order an $80 box of basic groceries online to be delivered in two-to-five working days.

The box includes a non-customisable selection of meals, snacks and a few essential items, and is available this week in the ACT, NSW and Victoria.

Australia Post will deliver boxes of essentials in accordance with coronavirus social distancing rules. Source: Australia Post

There are plans to roll out the initiative in other states in the coming weeks.

“We know so many people are really struggling to get their essential needs during this time, particularly the vulnerable and elderly who may not be able to visit their local supermarket,” Managing Director of Australia Post Christine Holgate said.

She added that “making a delivery to people’s home” was “critical at this time”.

The $80 price includes contactless doorstep delivery by Australia Post, with Woolworths claiming it would not be profiting from the service.

To limit pressure on the service, the supermarket has encouraged family and friends of vulnerable or isolated people to shop in-store where possible.

“There will be some in our community who don't have that option, and we need your help to put the most vulnerable first,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said in a statement on Monday.

Woolworths will also use DHL Supply Chain and delivery companies Sherpa and Drive Yello to get keep its online orders flowing.

The retailer has been offering priority assistance home deliveries since March 13, to help the elderly, those with disabilities, and those in mandatory isolation.'

The basics box will not be customisable and delivered only to those who need it most. Source: Supplied

Pharmacy goods delivered

Australia Post also launched its Pharmacy Home Delivery Service on Monday, which is offering free delivery on prescription medications to vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating customers.

The initiative allows those people to receive medication and other essential supplies (under 500grams) once a month, with pharmacies reimbursed fully through a government rebate.

The government has urged Australians over the age of 70 to stay at home for their own protection as the nation's coronavirus tally reaches more than 4000 cases, with 16 deaths.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.