Woolworths has said it will scale up its online delivery capacity over the next week to meet the need for essential goods.
On Monday, the business said it will expand a further 100 supermarkets into ‘priority delivery hubs’ after a successful trial in 41 locations, with new hubs launching throughout the week.
Additionally, Woolworths said it is working closely with Sherpa and Drive Yello to expand its driver base to improve delivery times for customers.
The supermarket is also stepping up efforts to get food to elderly and other vulnerable people who are stuck at home as coronavirus spreads.
Woolworths is rolling out an $80 box of basic groceries and will use Australia Post and other distribution channels to get orders to isolated people faster.
The box includes meals, snacks and a few essential items, and can’t be customised. It can be ordered online from this week in the ACT, NSW and Victoria.
Orders should arrive in two-to-five working days and phone support will be available for people who are not comfortable ordering online.
Other states will be added in coming weeks.
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.
The $80 price includes contactless doorstep delivery by Australia Post and Woolworths has said it won’t be making an profit from the service.
Woolworths says people who can shop for families or friends who are isolated should do so, to limit demand on the online service.
“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.
The new delivery options follow in-store practices announced last week. Checkout servers will be rotated every two hours to limit face-to-face interactions, and customers will be asked to pack their own bags for the foreseeable future.
“Our social distancing measures have been well received by our customers and team members to date and we’re grateful for the community support of this important public health effort,” Woolworths managing director Claire Peters said.
“Introducing additional measures such as packing your own bag and rotating our teams at checkouts every two hours will further support the health and wellbeing of everyone.”