Woolworths will introduce a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and people with a disability from Tuesday morning. Picture: Christian Gilles
Woolworths will introduce a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and people with a disability from Tuesday morning. Picture: Christian Gilles

Woolies launches exclusive shopping hour

Supermarket giant Woolworths will introduce a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and people with disabilities, prompted by the "unprecedented demand" of groceries during the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative will be between 7am and 8am from Tuesday, March 17 until at least Friday, "exclusively" for people with a government-issued concession card.

"The move has been prompted by the unprecedented demand in supermarkets over the past week, which has seen many elderly and vulnerable people in the community missing out on vital items they may need when they shop," Woolworths said in a statement this morning.

The stores will open to all customers from 8am.

RELATED: Grocery items restricted during virus outbreak

"While we'll continue to do our very best to restock our stores during this period of unprecedented demand, we know many of our elderly customers have been missing out on essential items when they shop," Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Claire Peters said.

"This temporary measure will give them, 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.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunrise this morning praised the dedicated shopping hour as "common sense" and "a great idea".

 

 

Host Lisa Wilkinson raised the idea on The Sunday Project last night.

"Supermarket bosses, can I suggest you think about leaving that first hour of trading each day for the elderly and those with disabilities, or those who can prove they are shopping for them," she said.

"No huge crowds, everything restocked and freshly cleaned. That is a no-brainer."

Woolworths said the full terms and conditions and any store exclusions would be available on its website later on Monday.

50-metre lines at Woolworths as coronavirus shopping panic escalates. Picture: Twitter
50-metre lines at Woolworths as coronavirus shopping panic escalates. Picture: Twitter
Empty shelves of tissues at Woolworths Town Hall in Sydney, Friday, March 13, 2020. Picture: Bianca De Marchi/AAP
Empty shelves of tissues at Woolworths Town Hall in Sydney, Friday, March 13, 2020. Picture: Bianca De Marchi/AAP