The increasing threat of COVID-19 has sparked “panic-buying” in supermarkets all over the world. Despite retailers' attempts to keep shelves stocked, many can’t keep up with the demand, as people continue to hoard essential items such as tinned goods, dried pasta, and toilet paper. This leaves the more vulnerable members of society unable to buy what they need. Thankfully though, Woolworths stores in Australia decided to create a dedicated shopping hour (7am to 8am) for the elderly and disabled, giving them the time and space they need before crowds of regular shoppers arrive.
The new opening hours began today (March 16, 2020), and will continue until at least March 20. “This temporary measure will give [the elderly], and those with a disability, the opportunity to shop before our stores officially open—helping them obtain the essential items they need most in a less crowded environment,” says Managing Director of Woolworths Claire Peters. “We continue to encourage all Australians to be mindful of those in our communities who might need extra help at this time.”
Woolworths’ new initiative is an example of how communities can come together during a crisis. Hopefully, other supermarkets across the world will soon follow suit. Peters says, “Now—more than ever—we need to be kind to each other.”
In order to manage supermarket crowds during the coronavirus pandemic, Woolworths stores now have a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and disabled.
We’re launching a dedicated shopping hour in our stores to help support the needs of the elderly & people with disability in the community. From tomorrow until at least friday, we’ll be opening exclusively for them to shop from 7-8am, where permitted.
— Woolworths (@woolworths) March 15, 2020