Supermarket giants on high alert as staff test positive for Covid-19

Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have taken strict precautions following some workers testing positive for Covid-19.

Coles is working with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to get all staff at its Laverton distribution centre in Victoria tested following some team members testing positive for the virus.

The supermarket giant said those who tested positive have not been present at the Laverton distribution centre since June 25. The facility was fully sanitised last week.

With less staff on hand to replenish stock, Coles has enforced further product limits at all Coles supermarkets, Coles Express and Coles Online in Victoria and Tasmania as well as Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW.

“While the Laverton distribution centre has been able to maintain operations, the reduced number of available team members has temporarily impacted our ability to replenish our Victorian stores with chilled and fresh produce lines,” said Coles in a statement.

Coles rerouted stock through distribution centres in other states and has opened pop-up distribution centres in Victoria.

The two-pack purchase limits applies to chilled, ambient and frozen products including Fresh Milk Canned Tomatoes; Cheese Canned Beans; Butter Canned Garden Veg; Margarine Pasta Sauce; Chicken Breast Canned Fruit; Chicken Thighs Canned Baked Beans & Spaghetti; Prepacked Carrots Canned Meat; Prepacked Potatoes Frozen Fruit & Veg (including Potato).

“Our team is working hard with our suppliers to replenish our stores as soon as possible, and we apologise to customers of our Victorian and NSW border stores who may find some chilled and fresh produce lines are temporarily out of stock,” Coles said in a statement.

In March, Coles found two workers tested positive for the virus in Brandon Park supermarket in Mulgrave and another employee at the adjoining Liquorland.

Meanwhile, 50 of Woolworths staff at its Balmian store in Sydney have been instructed to self isolate after a colleague tested positive for Covid-19.

Woolworths told Inside FMCG that the team member didn’t report or present with symptoms while on duty on June 28. The supermarket was notified of the case on July 1.

“We have been notified by NSW Health that a team member in our Balmain store in Sydney has tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’ve made contact with our Balmain store team members and will provide our full support to those self-isolating in line with the advice from NSW Health,” said a Woolworths spokesperson to Inside FMCG. “While NSW Health has confirmed the risk of transmission to customers and team members is low, the safety and wellbeing of the local community is our priority.”

The Balmain store has been intensively sanitised and Woolies assured customers and team members that it is now safe to shop and work in the supermarket.

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard called on shoppers who went to the Balmain store from June 27 to 28 to come forward so they can be tested.

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