An update on face coverings to our Victorian community
With the ongoing community transmissions of COVID-19 and the introduction of mandatory face coverings, we understand how unsettling and stressful this time is for many Victorians.
If toilet paper was the symbol of the first phase of COVID then masks seem to be symbolic of this phase. We have certainly learned a lot about face masks in the last few weeks.
In line with the updated directive from the Victorian Government earlier this week, we have now updated our policies on face coverings. We expect customers to wear a face covering when they come into any of our stores in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
This is true for all stores in the Group – Woolworths (including Metro), Dan Murphy’s, BWS and BIG W.
Tens of thousands of boxes of masks will start arriving in Victorian Woolworths stores this weekend for customers to buy – with a limit of one box per customer.
We’ll also provide a mask free of charge until Sunday evening if you arrive at one of our stores without a face covering.
There are some official exceptions and if you’re unable to wear a face covering for any of these reasons, we’d strongly encourage you to avoid coming in to store and order online for Delivery or Pick up (including Community Pick up which allows others to pick up on your behalf).
For details from the Victorian Government, including how to use masks, how to make your own mask, what other face coverings are acceptable and what exceptions apply, visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus/updates.
Optional masks have been available to our team nationwide since April. Now, our teams in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire have also been directed to wear face coverings unless they have a valid exception in line with the Government's directive.
Two distribution centres suspended
For the safety of our teams, we had no choice but to suspend operations at our two Mulgrave distribution centres in Melbourne last weekend after a number of team members tested positive to COVID-19.
Although the surfaces subsequently tested negative for COVID-19, we made the decision to temporarily close these sites as a precautionary measure to protect the wellbeing of our team.
This has regrettably led to a poor supply of fresh fruit and vegetables in some Victorian stores and our sincere apologies for this. We are doing all we can to restore the supply of fruit and vegetables to normal.
I’m pleased to share that our West Footscray online fulfillment centre has started picking orders again after it was cleared to re-open by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. With the fulfilment of many orders also moved to local stores, delivery windows will now be widely available across Melbourne.
Notifying customers of positive tests in local stores
A number of team members have returned positive COVID tests in the last week – at Woolworths Supermarkets in Airport West, South Yarra, St Albans, Keysborough, Tarneit Gardens and Victoria Harbour, Woolworths Metro in Abbotsford, Big W in Doncaster and Dan Murphy’s in Sunshine.
We’ll continue to be transparent, including posting notices online and in store when we learn of confirmed cases, including details of the last shift worked by the team member. We’ll also continue to work with the Health Department to make sure our safety protocols and procedures are the best they can be.
It is very hard writing this note from Sydney to imagine the stress and anxiety of the Victorian community. Suffice to say that we remain absolutely committed to doing whatever it takes to help keep our team and customers safe in Victoria and right across Australia.
CEO, Woolworths Group