Perspex barriers coming to a supermarket near you

Michael Weaver 3 April 2020 24
Supermarket employee with mask and gloves

An employee at Coles in Manuka taking precautions during a transaction. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

Canberrans will soon see perspex barriers at the checkouts of Woolworths supermarkets as the chain moves to decrease the risk of shoppers and staff contracting COVID-19.

Woolworths confirmed the screens would start appearing at the checkouts of all of its supermarkets during the coming weeks.

Managing director Claire Peters said the chain would do “everything necessary” to uphold public health and safety in its stores in response to the Federal Government’s steps to enforce social distancing measures.

“We know it’s not always easy to maintain social distancing at our check-outs, so we’ve started installing plexiglass screens as an additional safeguard for our team members and customers,” she said.

The perspex barriers will also appear at the BWS stores where floor markings will indicate appropriate distances between others when waiting at the checkout.

The retailer has also partnered with Australia Post and DHL Supply Chain to launch the ‘Woolworths Basics Box’ across the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria for customers unable to leave their home.

The $80 box will contain meals, snacks and a few essential items. The price also includes contactless doorstep delivery by Australia Post within an estimated time of two to five business days. Woolworths says it will not be profiting from providing this service.

Coles was unable to confirm whether it will introduce perspex barriers, but said it has introduced a range of measures to help with social distancing in stores.

Customers are advised to use the length of a trolley as a guide for the distance between themselves and other shoppers and to sanitise their hands before entering stores. The use of tap-and-go for payments is also being encouraged.

“Coles is spending an additional $1 million per week to extensively clean our stores and also increasing the number of security guards in our supermarkets to keep customers and team members safe during this time of unprecedented demand,” Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said.

Aldi, Coles and Woolworths have all said they will be recruiting extra employees to deal with additional requirements to keep shoppers safe.

Aldi Australia CEO Tom Daunt called for retail calm amidst panic buying in supermarkets.

“The increase in violence that retailers have seen over the past few weeks is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr Daunt said.

“We would ask everyone to be considerate and compassionate in the way they shop. This means civil behaviour, courtesy to those less able and respect for the employees of retail outlets.

“Quite frankly, we won’t tolerate anything less. We understand your concerns, but buying more than is needed can mean that others will be left without.”

Supermarket shoppers with mask

A shopper at Coles in Manuka on Wednesday.

From Thursday morning (26 March), Coles is dedicating two shopping periods per week to emergency services and healthcare workers.

The first hour of trade on Tuesdays and Thursdays will be for emergency services and healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital and ambulance staff, police, firefighters and emergency service workers who hold an AHPRA card, have a workplace ID or are wearing their work uniform.

Vulnerable and elderly customers can access the store on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the first hour of trade from 7:00 am.

“In the past week we have seen community hour help vulnerable and elderly Australians access essential grocery items during this challenging time. We are now extending this opportunity to those Australians who are protecting our community and keeping us safe,” Mr Cain said in a statement.

“We know these workers are incredibly busy and hope that providing them with a dedicated hour at the beginning of the day to shop will make their lives a little easier and support the vital work they are doing every day.

“We are also incredibly proud of our team members in-store who are working hard to get stock on to shelves as fast as possible, create a safe place to shop, and provide our customers with great service. We ask that our customers continue to show them kindness and patience.”


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24 Responses to Perspex barriers coming to a supermarket near you
Caroline Le Couteur Caroline Le Couteur 8:42 pm 29 Mar 20

Allready at Halal fruit and veggie shop in Mawson - but it is sad to need them

Tracey Stevenson Tracey Stevenson 8:41 pm 29 Mar 20

Good for the workers!!

Coralee Flood Coralee Flood 10:42 am 29 Mar 20

Our chemist had them. Best idea. Hope Drs surgeries install them too.

Tracy Chalk Tracy Chalk 8:13 am 29 Mar 20

Aldi too please.

stevew77 stevew77 11:55 pm 28 Mar 20

The CDC in the USA showed that the virus is viable on surfaces for 17 days and can stay in the air for 3 hours and dead bodies are also infectious for hours. What is a small barrier going to do?

    JC JC 11:45 pm 29 Mar 20

    Rather than worrying about how long the virus can live for you should read up on how the virus gets into people. That may well go a long way to answer your question.

Amy Pont Amy Pont 11:27 pm 28 Mar 20

Saw them at gungahlin today but when I was packing my bag, it didn't block me and the girl at the checkout. They need to curve around more to protect the staff possibly.

Phillip A. Jones Phillip A. Jones 5:13 pm 28 Mar 20

Wash shocked to see staff in several woolies with no gloves or protective gear even yesterday

    Brendan Quag Brendan Quag 12:47 am 29 Mar 20

    Phillip A. Jones you don't catch the virus through your hands. Gloves add no value if they wear them then touch their face or another surface etc. For a lot of people it's easier to just use your hands and wash them regularly and keep them away from your face.

Heather Gordon Heather Gordon 3:37 pm 28 Mar 20

Supermarkets should also have one way aisles, stop this ridiculous pushing past other people

    Sharron Gozzy Sharron Gozzy 7:33 pm 28 Mar 20

    Heather Gordon that’s what I thought to and not have employees packing shelves on both sides of the aisle at the same time

me heretoday me heretoday 2:47 pm 28 Mar 20

The sooner those perspex barriers go up the better. Those poor workers deserve some sort of protection.

Tony Hardy Tony Hardy 12:16 pm 28 Mar 20

I remember the last time I used self service at a supermarket. I have just realised that I touched the screen, various buttons and the card machine at least 8 times. I hope the staff are sanitising the machines regularly. Perhaps I should take something to tap the machines, perhaps the Credit Card would do.

    Kir Rin Kir Rin 1:54 pm 28 Mar 20

    Tony Hardy Carr doesn’t do the touch screen. You need a stylus.

    Jackie White Jackie White 5:42 pm 28 Mar 20

    Or don't touch your face until you wash your hands, AND if you have some, sanitise your hands the moment you finish touching it.

    Tony Hardy Tony Hardy 6:05 pm 28 Mar 20

    My stylus in my wallet, thank you Kirrin and Jackie.

    Rhonda Maxwell Rhonda Maxwell 9:55 am 29 Mar 20

    Tony Hardy put a freezer bag over your hand to act as a barrier

Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 11:26 am 28 Mar 20

Great idea. We need to keep our supermarkets open and staff safe!

Michelle Mills Michelle Mills 11:25 am 28 Mar 20

Had to go to Woolies yesterday and many shoppers are still making no effort to physically distance from each other or staff :(

    Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 11:28 am 28 Mar 20

    Michelle Mills it will only change when they know someone who has Covid19. Until then, people don’t care. Sad hey.

    OldMan Wyatt OldMan Wyatt 11:58 am 28 Mar 20

    yes I experienced this too

Kathy Schneider Kathy Schneider 10:23 am 28 Mar 20

About time.

Simon Moore Simon Moore 10:15 am 28 Mar 20

Got them here in of Norway’s supermarkets already

Adam Wade Adam Wade 10:07 am 28 Mar 20

Perspex barriers or reclaimed Sizzler Salad sneeze Bar

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