Major supermarkets in Australia will be introducing new restrictions for shoppers starting Monday. With the COVID-19 cases still rising, Coles and Woolworths are planning to enforce stricter limits on their customers.
Woolworths will admit entry for eight customers a time beginning next week. Allegedly, the Woolies at Richmond NSW has started implementing the new rule.
Coles has added security personnel, including specially-trained staff and outsourced security guards, to enforce restricted access and physical distancing in their stores. Coles Chief Operating Officer, Matt Swindells, said restrictions would apply when the store volume has become too immense for the people to keep safe distances.
Woolworths, however, said restrictions on the number of customers admitted would depend on the floor space of a particular store. From the entrance, customers will be counted on queue and will have to wait for other shoppers to finish before gaining entry.
Accordingly, the superstore will carry out new measures on social distancing by Easter weekend. Nevertheless, the application of new rules will depend on the store manager’s foresight as long as it will be for the interest and safety of the community.
Swindells said Coles aims to make a safe space for both customers and employees. Hence, Coles introduced new safety measures. By the following week, shoppers will have to keep a distance of one-and-a-half metres from everybody. On the other hand, the supermarket giant will implement a 15-minute limitation for face-to-face interactions. Queuing side-by-side will be limited to only two hours as well.
In addition to these measures, Coles will be asking customers to pack and handle their groceries personally.
Woolies Has Disappointed Shoppers With Overpriced Grocery Package
One of the major supermarkets in Australia has received backlash from its patrons recently.
While Woolworths offers the Basics Box to the elderly and those in self-quarantine as a solution, many have not been happy with the $80 price tag, calling it overpriced and ridiculous. However, some patrons came in its defence after a post went viral this week.
In the viral post, a woman shared a photo of the package’s contents, initiating a heated debate whether the price of $80 is reasonable. Some pointed out how it lacks essential items such as bread. Others, in contrast, said the price could have included delivery costs by Australia Post. Furthermore, some people stated that the box comprised of non-perishable items and that it is better than having nothing at all.
Launched earlier this week, the superstore introduced the grocery packages in response to the increasing demand for supplies. Woolworths claimed the Basic Box should meet the needs of the vulnerable, claiming they will not profit on sales of the said package.
The costs for the Basic Box covers packaging and transporting goods, as well as contactless delivery straight to a customer’s doorstep courtesy of Australia Post. Woolworths has partnered with DHL and Australia Post to ensure that delivery will be quick and smooth for their Priority Assistance clienteles. Estimated delivery time would be around two to five business days.
Brad Banducci, the CEO of Woolworths Group, said the initiative was to ensure Priority Assist clienteles will receive essential items as soon as possible. However, customers do not have the option to choose the contents of the Basic Box. Nonetheless, he promised that Woolworths would continue reshaping its business methods and deliver the best possible service to those in self-isolation.
Not All Major Supermarkets in Australia Are Tightening Rules
Coles, somewhat, has turned soft as they are easing the two-item restriction on some products such as meat and fresh milk. Other superstores will follow suit after having forced to implement restrictions on purchases because of the countrywide panic buying.
While shoppers can now get more than two milk bottles per purchase, restrictions still apply on UHT long-life dairy. On the other hand, customers can now buy more than one minced meat packet with beef mince prices at 20 per cent lower for a limited time offer only.
Charlotte Gilbert, Coles Meat General Manager, expressed how demand for meat products has increased astronomically over the past four weeks as more people remain in their homes. She added that Coles had sold more than 5 million packs already.
However, Coles has not lifted purchase restrictions on products such as dry rice, flour, sugar, pasta, eggs, frozen vegetables, desserts, toilet paper, paper towels, nappies, hand sanitisers, and liquid soap.
Last month, major supermarkets in Australia such as Coles, Woolworths, and Aldi had introduced limits after panic buying Australians stripped clean store shelves. Steve Cain, Coles CEO, expressed how he believes that everyone, especially the elderly, should have equal access to grocery items. Hence, these measures will remain until the coronavirus crisis ends.