9 July 2020
 

A message from our CEO to all Victorians

Dear Customers,

With the recent rapid escalation of COVID-related cases in Greater Melbourne, I thought it was appropriate to write to you directly with an update from Woolworths.

Product Limits

With the Stage 3 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and after we saw increased demand on Tuesday afternoon, we decided to reintroduce buying limits to a number of products across Victoria. (For the latest details, visit our website here.)

Unlike in March and April, we currently have good stock levels across our Victorian stores with more product on its way. So the decision on limits was taken out of a combination of caution and to make sure everyone has equal access to the products they need. As before, we’d ask you again to keep shopping as you normally would and only buy what you need.

We also understand it might be frustrating for customers in regional Victoria to have the same product restrictions as Greater Melbourne. But we’d like to avoid encouraging customers travelling long distances to regional stores to load up on groceries, which would not only be unfair to regional customers, but also pose a public health concern.

Looking after you in store

- All Victorian stores remain open as usual, with extra measures added to our existing COVID social distancing and hygiene practices:

- Store greeters regularly wiping down trolleys and baskets

- Team members monitoring customer numbers in store (to comply with the Victorian Health Department’s mandatory limits)

- Monitoring social distancing in store and around checkouts

At this stage, we haven’t seen the need to bring back Community Hour (with both Community Pick up and Priority Assist in place to support vulnerable customers), but we will continue to monitor the situation.

To help you better plan when to shop, this week we introduced a new tool which lets you see how busy a store is in real-time, and when the busiest times normally are. It’s called Q-Tracker and you can check it out here.

As well as these customer-facing measures, we have introduced new measures for our teams. These include compulsory daily temperature checks for all team members and the introduction of nurses in many of our stores and distribution centres in hotspot areas, to support our teams with both the temperature checks and health advice.

We have also been very clear with our whole Victorian team that if they feel unwell, they should not come to work – and we have put provisions in place to accommodate this.

It’s also important that you shouldn’t come into a store if you feel unwell either, or if you should be in mandatory self-isolation or have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID case.

Shopping with confidence online

Delivery and Pick up are both open as usual with good availability of order windows across Victoria. A reminder that we have a number of ways we can help you shop online with confidence:

- Community Pick up, which allows you to pick up for yourself or on behalf of someone else

- Priority Assistance for the elderly, people with disability and those in isolation

- Contactless deliveries with groceries delivered to your doorstep

You may have heard that unfortunately we had 3 confirmed cases of COVID at our West Footscray Online Distribution Centre this week. With the wellbeing of our team the priority, we had no choice but to cancel some online orders on Monday and Tuesday while we worked through the isolation and testing of all team members on this site. At the time of writing this on Wednesday evening, the site remains closed but we have increased the online capacity of our Supermarkets in the area. (It’s worth noting that almost 80% of our online orders in Victoria are normally filled from within our stores.)

Helping communities in the ‘Melbourne Towers’

This week, we’ve been working hand-in-hand with the Victorian Government and our longstanding food rescue partners Foodbank and FareShare to provide much-needed fresh meals and supplies to the Melbourne public housing residents in lockdown.

So far, we’ve provided 4,500 bags containing essentials like pasta, fresh fruit & vegetables, oats, cheese, yoghurt and biscuits. We’ve also provided FareShare kitchens with enough protein and vegetables to prepare over 14,000 meals for the local residents. We’re committed to continue supporting these Victorians throughout the restrictions.

We have learned a lot from the previous Stage 3 restrictions, which means we are now better prepared and have so far done a better job of making sure our stores are in-stock and we have enough online capacity.

However, this week’s events are a timely and unfortunate reminder that COVID is still very much part of our lives. So as well as providing you with the service you need from us, it has reinforced that we need to work hard on how we respond to positive cases of COVID so we can do everything we can to protect the wellbeing of our customers, team and communities.

Stay safe,

Brad
CEO, Woolworths Group