Coles and Woolworths have announced special provisions to allow the elderly and disabled to shop for groceries as panic buying continues to lead to supermarket stock shortages.
From Wednesday, Coles supermarkets will temporarily change their trading hours to open 7am to 8pm on weekdays, with the first hour of trade open exclusively to customers who hold a government-issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card and Health Care Card.
Once this hour is complete, all other customers will be invited through the doors to complete their grocery shop.
Supermarkets will also close no later than 8pm to give team members the time and space to extensively clean stores and replenish the shelves for customers the next day.
Woolworths have a similar plan.
From tomorrow until at least Friday, Woolworths supermarkets will be opening exclusively for the elderly and those with a disability to shop from 7am to 8am.
The move by both supermarkets 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.
“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,” Woolworths Supermarkets 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.
“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.
“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused by the revised opening hours.”