Inside Woolworths' multi-million dollar in-store cleaning plan amid pandemic

Woolworths has almost doubled its in-store cleaning expenditure as it looks to provide a safe environment for shoppers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The supermarket giant has rolled out a COVID-19 cleaning regime on top of its usual cleaning procedures, bringing in external contractors to help clean a vast range of surfaces touched by staff and customers.

“The cleaning expenditure across our supermarkets has almost doubled, but we see it as a multimillion-dollar investment in team and customer safety, at a time when it’s more important than ever,” Trent Mason, Woolworths General Manager of Facilities Management said.

“We’re pleased our network of trusted cleaning partners and their employees have benefitted from this enhanced focus on hygiene.

Cleaning trolleys regularly is among Woolworths' ramped up cleaning regime. Source: AAP
Cleaning trolleys regularly is among Woolworths' ramped up cleaning regime. Source: AAP

“We’re grateful for the important work they do in our stores.”

Since early March Woolworths has significantly increased its frequency of cleaning, using hospital-grade disinfectant on a rolling basis.

This results in the the store being cleaned multiple times a day, Woolworths says.

Woolworths says the key areas of focus in its COVID-19 cleaning regime are:

  • Handles throughout the store including in the fridge and bakery areas

  • Bench tops including the deli counter

  • Touch screens, eftpos keypads, coin dispensers

  • Trolley handles and baby capsules

  • Customer hand baskets

  • Back of house areas including team lunch rooms, amenities, and all door handles/push plates

A spokesperson for the supermarket told Yahoo News Australia the ramped up cleaning process will continue to be rolled out nationwide amid the pandemic, regardless of whether virus cases decrease or ultimately disappear from a region.

Throughout the outbreak, Woolworths has implemented a series of safety measures to protect its staff and customers.

Some stores are subject to store limits while social distancing is implemented throughout its stores.

In March, protective screens were installed at checkouts between staff and customers.

The supermarket is also trialling a one-way system in its aisles in a bid to reduce customer contact.

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