Coles announces dedicated shopping times for healthcare workers
Australian supermarket chain Coles has announced that it will extend its Community Hour shopping periods to healthcare and emergency services workers who are protecting the community during the current COVID-19 pandemic the world is currently facing.
As of Thursday March 26, the first hour of trade in Coles stores on Tuesdays and Thursdays will see the store open solely to doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital and ambulance staff, police, firefighters, and any other emergency services workers that hold an AHPRA card, have work ID on them, or are dressed in their work uniform.
Speaking about this gesture, Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said that the move has been made to ensure even more Australians essential to aiding the public through this crisis are able to more readily access the essential supplies they themselves will need.
“We know these workers are incredibly busy and hope that providing them with a dedicated hour at the beginning of the day to shop will make their lives a little easier and support the vital work they are doing every day," said Cain.
The move expands on the Community Hour program the chain already had in place to support vulnerable and elderly customers bearing a government-issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card, Seniors Card, Disability Card, or Health Care Card – all of whom will still have free reign over Coles stores for the first hour of trading on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – which many other supermarkets including national competitor Woolworths and many independent grocers have also implemented.
The announcement comes at a time that has seen Australian supermarket shelves stripped due to panic buying because of people's fears of not having enough supplies to survive two weeks of self-isolation, and in turn, fears of supermarkets' supplies dwindling as a result of panic buying.
However, in the same statement, Cain confirmed that Coles workers are doing all they can to get their own supplies to stores and back onto shelves as soon as they arrive.
“We are also incredibly proud of our team members in-store who are working hard to get stock on to shelves as fast as possible, create a safe place to shop, and provide our customers with great service. We ask that our customers continue to show them kindness and patience," Cain noted.