Woolworths will urge the wearing of face masks in all its ACT stores from Monday as part of a new response to combat the spread of COVID-19 after the growth of virus hot spots in Sydney.
The new guidance comes despite the fact that the ACT only has one active case and has not had a new case for three weeks.
The guidance will apply to Woolworths Supermarkets, Woolworths Metro Food Stores, BIG W, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and ALH Hotels.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the safety and wellbeing of customers, teams and communities was the company’s top priority.
“Even though wearing a face covering is not mandatory in NSW, ACT or Queensland, as the largest private-sector employer with stores in almost every community, we feel it’s important we lead the way in helping reduce community transmission of COVID-19. We’re asking our teams to lead by example, and this includes our Group Executive Team,” he said.
“Masks and face coverings are a highly visible symbol of the persistence of COVID-19. By encouraging and role modelling their use, it will further support the steps we need to collectively take to stop the spread of the virus and keep our team and customers safe.”
Face coverings will be provided to all Woolworths Group team members to wear and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Mr Banducci said Woolworths would continue to work with the Health Department to make sure its safety protocols and procedures are the best they can be.
In Queensland, customers and teams across Woolworths Group stores and sites within hot spot areas are also being urged to wear face coverings from today.
This is in addition to the mandatory requirements for face coverings in all of Victoria, currently in place across Melbourne and Mitchell shires, with the entire state now included from Sunday.
Demand for face masks is high in the ACT, but authorities have assured Canberrans that there is a plentiful supply.
The benefits of masks have been a contentious issue but are seen as a practical barrier to spreading the virus, so long as they are changed frequently or washed and wearers take care removing them.