Thursday 26 November 2020
With more than one million* extra Australians on our shores this year compared to last year due to travel restrictions, Woolworths is preparing for one of its busiest Christmas seasons ever.
While COVID-19 might change the way many Australians celebrate Christmas this year, Woolworths’ commitment to providing a COVIDSafe environment for its customers and teams will not.
Since March, Woolworths has proactively launched more than 120 best practice COVID-19 safety policies and initiatives across all its stores, distribution centres and offices.
This December, in preparation for the higher volumes of customers expected in the lead up to Christmas, additional hygiene, cleaning and social distancing measures include:
- Investing an extra $3 million in additional cleaning of high touch surfaces including baskets and trolleys;
Testing a new range of automatic hand sanitiser units and Assisted Check Out wipe units in select stores to add to the 3,500 hand sanitiser stations currently installed across the store network; and
Trialling a ‘car wash’ for trolleys that allows up to ten trolleys at a time be pushed through a standalone unit while sprayed with a disinfectant. The innovative technology was first trialled in October and currently being rolled out to a further five stores across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales this month.
Woolworths Group Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rob McCartney said: “As we enter the busiest shopping season of the year, we’re focused on ensuring our store teams and customers remain COVIDSafe.
“We really want everyone to be able to celebrate the spirit of Christmas in our stores and there are a few simple things customers can do to help make it a positive experience.
“Our research shows a lot of customers still plan to do the bulk of their shopping in the days leading up to Christmas. That’s understandable as customers will want the freshest possible seafood, meat and fruit and veg on the Christmas table.
“But to limit your time in store during the peaks, it’s a good idea to buy all your pantry items, dry grocery, decorations, drinks and confectionery in early December.
“If that’s not an option for you, we would recommend using the Q-Tracker tool on our website or on the Woolworths Shopping app to track in-store traffic and avoid the busiest periods where queuing might be necessary.”
Customers are also encouraged to make use of the list builder in the Woolworths App. The App helps customers organise shopping lists aisle by aisle so they can avoid wandering up and down aisles looking for products.
Dr McCartney concluded: “It’s been really pleasing to see how our customers and teams have responded to the COVIDSafe initiatives we have introduced in our stores.
“We’ll continue to look for new and innovative ways to build on our existing COVIDSafe protocols and procedures to ensure we’re providing the safest possible environments we can for our team and customers.
“We’d like to thank our customers for their ongoing patience as we work through these challenging times together, and importantly, we wish all our customers a festive, enjoyable and safe Christmas.”
Woolworths COVIDSafe initiatives in-stores and online
Digital queuing technology (Q Tracker) that uses real-time data to show the length of the queue to enter our stores allowing customers to avoid busy times
Woolworths Shopping App which helps customers plan their trip including which aisles to find items to reduce time in store
Health Ambassadors at the front of some stores, to monitor the amount of customers allowed in the stores during peak trade times.
Monitoring and counting of customers at the fresh seafood counters in some stores to ensure social distancing is maintained
COVIDSafe cleaning of high touchpoint areas, baskets and trolleys
Availability of sanitisers and wipes throughout store
Disinfectant Trolley Washer
Physical and digital signage and floor decals to remind customers to maintain physical distancing measures
Plexiglass and acrylic dividers at our checkouts
Provision of face coverings to all stores teams across the Group for those that wish to use them, or where they have to use them in accordance with Government directions
Direct to Boot - another online shopping option (in addition to Delivery, Pick Up and On-Demand Delivery) for customers who choose not to go into stores over Christmas in selected stores
More measures can be found here - Woolworths CovidSafe
* According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Overseas Arrivals and Departures report on Australians returning from overseas, in December 2019 the Total movement, departures - category of movement, figures for 'Short-term residents departing' -which by definition refers to residents that stay abroad for less than 12 months- was 1,304,480 short-term residents departing Australia.