Supermarket giant Coles is imposing tighter processes around hygiene and social distancing in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Coles CEO Steven Cain addressed customers in a statement saying it is working closely with the Department of Health to ensure the public and staff’s safety during the outbreak.
Customers are being asked to pack their own bags to “minimise both handling and close contact time” and card payments, particularly tap and go are being encouraged to minismise the risk of spreading the virus.
Shoppers will have less contact with employees at the checkouts to maintain social distancing. At the checkouts, the grocery will place marked signs, along the belted area and where the products are packed in bags.
Coles is also rotating its teams on checkouts throughout the day to support staff safety.
After receiving questions from customers about protective clothing, Cain said that at this point, gloves and face masks were not necessary as per the Department of Health’s fact sheet.
“We’ve added extra cleaning & sanitisation to high contact areas of the store, including trolleys, baskets, checkout areas and self-service screens. We ask all customers not to enter a store if they are unwell, to wash or sanitise their hands before entering stores, and to remind everyone to not touch their face unless your hands have been sanitised. The sanitisers we use at Coles have all been confirmed to kill coronavirus,” Cain said.
The Department of Health has emphasised the importance of washing the hands regularly, using hand sanitiser and maintaining a safe distance.
“We’ll be adding signs around our stores and at the checkout area to help you follow social distancing guidelines. The length of a trolley (1.5m) is a good guide for the distance you should keep from other customers and team members, and we ask that you follow all directions signposted in-store on keeping a safe distance,” he said.
Coles also implemented a few changes at the in-store bakeries. The single item bakery goods will be individually pre-wrapped and loaves will no longer sliced on site to ensure better availability of pre-sliced bread options.
“Please respect the guidelines we’re putting in place as your health and safety remains a priority for us,” concluded Cain.
The grocery giant is currently planning rolling out an Online Priority Service to serve elderly and vulnerable customers who find it difficult to access groceries due to the panic buying.