Coles has extended its trading hours to stay open until 10pm every night, including weekends.
It comes after the supermarket giant recruited more than 7,000 new workers in just two weeks to meet the unprecedented surge in customer demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. A further 5,000 positions have been made available across the country.
A spokesperson for Coles said extending the trading hours would help ensure customers get ample opportunity to shop for essentials and grocery items and hopefully reduce instances of panic buying.
Both Coles and Woolies had previously been forced to reduce their trading hours to shut their doors at 8pm every night to give staff more time to restock shelves and clean stores amid a surge in demand for products. It’s unclear whether Woolworths will follow suit in staying open later than 8pm.
Coles Community Hour is changing to improve access for those protecting the community. Mon/Wed/Fri from 7am to 8am will remain exclusive for elderly & vulnerable. Tues/Thur 7am to 8am will be dedicated to emergency services & healthcare workers. More at: https://t.co/n6CpeaO9PH
— Coles Supermarkets (@Coles) March 24, 2020
Coles said the first shopping hour between 7am and 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will remain its dedicated ‘community hour’ for seniors and disadvantaged groups to shop for essentials in less crowded environments before stores officially open. This applies to customers who hold any of the following government-issued concession cards:
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Companion Card
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Health Care Card
- Seniors Card
- Disability Card
The first hour of trade on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7am to 8am will be reserved for the emergency services and healthcare workers who can demonstrate they are registered with AHPRA, have a workplace ID, or are wearing their work uniform. This applies to:
- Hospital and ambulance staff
- Emergency service workers
Coles said supermarkets will close no later than 10pm (where state laws allow) to give staff time and space to clean stores and restock shelves for the next day.
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