COVID-19: Australian Supermarkets Introduce 'elderly Hour' As Panic Buying Continues

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Australian stores called the move necessary but not best to manage 93-year-old customers coming all the way to shop, which, they said, was still inconvenient.

Written By Zaini Majeed | Mumbai | Updated On:

Coles and Woolworths and other major supermarket stores in Australia have reportedly announced a special shopping hour for the elderly and the differently-abled citizens due to coronavirus panic buying. The stores have temporarily altered trading hours and are opening early to dedicate 7 am to 8 pm to old aged people. Customers who hold Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card and Health Care Card would be able to check-in early in the stores on weekdays, confirmed reports. 

According to the reports, the supermarkets have come up with the ‘exclusive hour’ measure after shelves of groceries and other supplies were stripped clean by the younger population and the older people were left staring and walking out empty-handed. The superstores in Sydney and Melbourne, however, witnessed long queues outside and despite security guards blocking the entry of the younger customers, the unprecedented demands led to a shortage of supplies like toilet papers. 

Claire Peters, Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director said in a statement that it was the day one of their dedicated shopping hours and it wasn't perfect across all the stores. It was, however, a learning opportunity to run the business smoothly moving forward, she added. 

"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

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Home delivery should be arranged

Irie Voico, Woolworth's store in charge at Neutral Bay store in Sydney, told the international media reporters that the shopper’s sentiments were mixed. She said that the measure was a necessary one but wasn’t the best way to manage the customers. A 93-year-old coming all the way to shop at the store was inconvenient despite dedicated hours, she said, there should be delivery arranged. 

Read: New Zealand PM And Australia Chief Medical Officer On Virus

Read: Australia Officials On Virus Cases And Dutton

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