25 July 2020

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An update on face coverings to our NSW community

Dear Customers,

The recent increase in positive cases in Victoria, and to a lesser extent NSW, is an unfortunate reminder that we continue to live with COVID. We have learned a lot from our experience in Victoria over the past few weeks and with the situation very fluid in NSW, I thought it was timely to provide you with a status update on three key issues:

Face masks are increasingly becoming part of everyday life

If Toilet Paper was the symbol of the first phase of COVID, then Masks are symbolic of this phase. In Greater Melbourne, face coverings have now become mandatory when people leave their homes (unless they have an official exception). With face masks fast becoming part of everyday life in Victoria (and indeed in many parts of Europe and the United States), it feels prudent to prepare for the same in NSW.

With that in mind, we have updated our advice in all our stores in the Local Government Areas of Fairfield and Liverpool with a close eye on other areas as the situation evolves. This is true for all Woolworths (including Metro), BWS, Dan Murphy’s and BIG W stores.

In these areas, we strongly encourage customers to wear a face covering when coming into any of our stores

This is the same guidance we have given to our teams working in store in these areas, and we have provided them with masks to wear. We fully support all customers and team members who choose to wear a face covering.

For the latest COVID-19 case locations in NSW, see the NSW Government website here. And for helpful details on face coverings, have a look at the World Health Organisation site here.

I should also add that, as always, it’s interesting to see Australian ingenuity in action. We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people searching online for how to make their own face masks, with searches for elastic up 250% on the Woolworths website and searches for sewing machines more than doubling on the BIG W website.

Notifying customers of positive tests in local stores

In July, a small number of our stores in NSW have been impacted by positive COVID tests.

When we do learn of a confirmed case, we think it’s important to be fully transparent to the local community, including posting notices on our website and in the affected stores and sending messages to Rewards members who shop in those stores.

If a team member has tested positive, these notices include details such as the last shift worked by the team member and the number for the Department of Health's Coronavirus Hotline should anyone need to seek health advice.

We are also working as quickly as possible to leverage our digital assets to increase both the reach and speed of these notifications and this includes our digital in-store screens, apps and the use of SMS.

Continuously improving our social distancing and hygiene standards

We’ll also continue to work with the Health Department to make sure our safety protocols and procedures are the best they can be. The single most important aspect of which is social distancing and with that in mind, we have introduced a new tool which lets you see how busy a store is almost in real-time, and when the busiest times normally are. It’s called Q-Tracker and you can check it out here.

The safety and wellbeing of our customers, teams and communities remains our top priority.. Thank you for your ongoing support as we all work together to keep our communities safe and limit the spread of COVID-19 in New South Wales.

Stay safe,

CEO, Woolworths Group

For the latest updates and details of our online shopping options (including Delivery, Pick up, Priority Assistance and Community Pick up), see our website here.