Emergency services and healthcare workers will have access to two community hour shopping periods under new initiatives being introduced by Coles supermarkets.
The workers considered essential to protecting the community during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to use the first hour of trade on Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 26 to get their shopping done.
The Coles initiative is open to doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital and ambulance staff, police, firefighters and emergency service workers who hold an AHPRA card, have a workplace ID or are wearing their work uniform.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Coles Community Hours will continue to be dedicated to vulnerable and elderly customers with a government-issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card, Seniors Card, Disability Card and Health Care Card.
Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the move aims to assist more Australians to access the essential groceries they 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," Mr Cain said.
"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."
Coles will review the community hour shopping periods as as necessary.
The supermarket chain will continue to operate from 7am to 8pm as will its petrol stations and liquor stores
A number of guidelines to help with social distancing in stores have also been introduced with customers advised to keep a trolley-length between themselves and other shoppers.
Shopers should also sanitise their hands before entering stores and are encouraged to use tap-and-go payments.
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