Shoppers can expect more queues at supermarkets as they implement additional measures to maintain social distancing laws ahead of an expected increase in trade this week for Easter.
Woolworths Supermarkets’ managing director Claire Peters said they expect to sell four million Easter bunnies and seven million Easter eggs through until Easter Sunday.
All the major supermarket chains have implemented measures to keep shoppers at appropriate distances to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Aldi Australia CEO Tom Daunt said all of its stores now have 1.5-metre social distancing floor markers at checkouts, while security guards will limit the number of shoppers in the stores to between 70-100, depending on the size of the store.
“Customers will be asked to queue 1.5 metres away from each other outside the store until directed by security or store employees to enter the store. These measures are in place to ensure the utmost safety of our customers while they shop with us,” Mr Daunt said.
Hygiene stations have also been installed at the entry of Aldi stores, which includes antibacterial wipes to clean trolley surfaces and hand sanitiser for customers.
Mr Daunt said they are in the process of installing clear screens at each store register.
Staff have been advised that there is no need for employees to wear a mask or gloves, however, they are available should employees wish to use them.
A spokesperson for the Coles supermarket chain said it is adhering to the federal government’s COVID-19 hygiene practices for supermarkets, which says, “customers should be given antibacterial wipes and/or hand sanitiser for personal use, and antibacterial wipes for use on their trolley and/or basket when entering the supermarket”.
Woolworths will also be limiting the number of customers allowed in each store to enable social distancing between customers, dependent on the size of the store.
Outside the stores, there will be signage and a coned area instructing customers where to queue, while the number of customers will be managed using a one-in, one-out policy.
Woolworths will work closely with local centre management security and police to help manage queues outside the store at peak times to ensure customers are keeping at least 1.5 meters apart from each other.
“While Easter won’t be the same this year, we know Australian families will still want to maintain traditions in the new normal environment,” said Woolworths managing director Claire Peters.
“Traditionally, the Thursday in the lead-up to Easter is one of our busiest times in-store. We ask our customers to pre-plan their Easter shopping to avoid the usual Thursday spike in numbers.
“Keeping our supermarkets safe for our teams and customers remains our top priority. Customers will start to notice stores implementing new social distancing measures in the lead up to the Easter weekend.
Ms Peters is asking shoppers to continue to be patient and respectful to staff during this time.
“We know it may take some getting used to, but supermarkets overseas have successfully adopted similar measures, so we also encourage everyone to be community-minded when queuing.”
“As our team members continue providing for the community, we will do everything necessary to uphold public health and safety in our stores,” Ms Peters said.
Customers are encouraged to use their trolley as a distance guide and advised to follow floor markings at checkouts, while posters will provide tips to minimise contact with others.
Last week, Woolworths advised its staff that security guards would be introduced across every single store in the country, which is now in place across more than 950 stores. All remaining stores will have security guards in the coming days.
Most supermarkets will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday except for some that are connected to petrol stations. All stores will trade as usual on Easter Saturday and Easter Monday.