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Monday, March 16, 2020

Woolworths Will Open An Hour For Elderly And Disabled People To Shop For Essentials During Coronavirus Frenzy


Woolworths is introducing a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and disabled to stock up without being overwhelmed by the panic buying chaos within some stores.

Most of its supermarkets across the nation will open to these groups exclusively from 7am to 8am, starting Tuesday until at least Friday.

Panic buying in recent weeks sparked by the spread of coronavirus in Australia has seen supermarkets stripped of essentials such as toilet paper, pasta and tinned and other dried food, and seen some shoppers embroiled in ugly confrontations over the limited stock.

'The move has been prompted by the unprecedented demand in supermarkets over the past week, which has seen many elderly and vulnerable people in the community missing out on vital items they may need when they shop,' Woolworths announced on Monday.


'While we'll continue to do our very best to restock our stores during this period of unprecedented demand, we know many of our elderly customers have been missing out on essential items when they shop,' managing director Claire Peters said.

'This temporary measure will give them, and those with a disability, the opportunity to shop before ​our stores officially open - helping them obtain the ​essential ​items they need most in a less crowded environment. '

Shoppers must show a government-issued seniors or disability card to be granted early access.

Stores will open to ​other customers from 8am.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was 'common sense' and 'a great idea' when he appeared on Channel Seven's Sunrise on Monday.

Other supermarkets chains were yet to announce whether they will follow suit.


The move followed a desperate plea to supermarkets from The Project co-host Lisa Wilkinson after yet another brawl between panic-buying shoppers at a Woolworths in Sydney's south-west on Sunday, which resulted in one man being charged.

'As the COVID-19 death toll here and overseas proves, those who are at greatest risk of contracting coronavirus are the elderly, the weak, the unwell and the vulnerable,' she said on Sunday night's program.

'They will be feeling very scared right now and we need to put plans in place to ensure they are not left behind.

'Supermarket bosses, can I suggest you think about leaving that first hour of trading each day for the elderly and those with disabilities, or those who can prove they are shopping for them. No huge crowds, everything restocked and freshly cleaned. That is a no-brainer.'

Ms Wilkinson issued this plea for the rest of Australia.

'For the rest of us, if you personally have more than you can use from those recent supermarket shops, think about donating some of it to someone you know who may have been forgotten in all of this panic,' she said.

Ms Peters added: 'We continue to encourage all Australians to be mindful of those in our communities who might need extra help at this time. Now - more than ever - we need to be kind to each other, especially to those most vulnerable.'

Woolworths announced last week that it will work in partnership with Meals on Wheels NSW to help deliver toilet paper directly to the elderly in the community.

[By MSN]

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