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Woolworths trials QR code contact tracing in Victoria, NSW

Supermarket giant Woolworths has launched a trial period for voluntary contact tracing using QR codes in 11 Woolworths Supermarkets in Victoria and one Woolworths Metro in NSW.

Shoppers can use their smartphones to scan a QR code at the store and input their contact details in a measure aimed at helping trace and identify transmissions of Covid-19.

Woolies said in a statement the information will be encrypted and secured. The supermarket will contact them if there is a confirmed case in the store and alert the health authorities as well as partner agencies for contact tracing.

“While checking in and sharing contact details will be voluntary for our customers, we encourage shoppers to make use of it in our trial stores. Doing so will enable health authorities to make rapid contact with potentially impacted customers in the event of a confirmed case of Covid-19 in our stores,” Woolworths Supermarkets GM for Victoria Andrew Hall said.

Woolworths also unveiled a web tool, Q-Tracker, which shows shoppers which stores have a queue at the entrance with social distancing and if there is a waiting time. The grocery said this helps consumers know when to avoid busy shopping hours to save time and stay safe while buying essentials.

Under the Q-Tracker, shoppers can ‘book my shop’ in more than 40 stores so they do not need to wait in line. This follows successful trials in its Taylors Lakes, Hampton Park, South Melbourne and St Helena stores, the company said.

“Based on the positive feedback from customers, we’ve expanded the booking function to a further 40 Melbourne stores. We’ll continue to look for new and innovative ways to build on our existing CovidSafe protocols and procedures to ensure they’re as robust as they can be,” Hall added.

Woolworths also launched an online delivery service at three of its stores in Dandenong Plaza, Watergardens South and Mountain Gate supermarkets as Melbourne enters stage 4 restrictions. The three stores closed on Tuesday to in-store customers in order to serve online grocery delivery customers until further notice.

The closing of the store and switching to online delivery is under the Woolworths’ Priority Assistance program for the most vulnerable in the community. Last March and April, the grocery giant converted some of its stores in Sydney and Melbourne to meet the surge in online demand.

There are alternative stores within 5km in Melbourne including Dandenong Plaza: Dandenong South and Endeavour Hills; Watergardens South: Watergardens, Watervale and Taylors Lakes as well as in Mountain Gate: Ferntree Gully, Scoresby and Boronia.

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