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Coles Customers Must Now 'Pack Their Own Bags' To Restrict Coronavirus Spread

Coles is telling its customers to pack their own bags and groceries to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

The supermarket giant wrote to its customers, highlighting a new set of regulations to help keep stores safe for both shoppers and staff.

People have been told they must not enter stores if they are sick, and should handle their own bags and pack their own groceries to limit the risk of spreading the virus.

They have also been asked to wash or sanitise their hands before entering stores and shoppers must stay 1.5 metres away from others at all times.

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Coles is introducing dedicated shopping hours for health care workers and emergency services personnel who are working endlessly to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.

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Prepare To See A Lot Of 'Ugly' Fruit On The Shelves At Woolies And Coles

In the wake of the drought and coronavirus crisis, supermarkets are relaxing their specifications and allowing imperfect fruit and veg to fill our shelves.

Special directions will be provided at checkouts to make sure people in queues don't get too close together.

The retailer is spending an extra $1 million a week on intensified cleaning and more security guards, with special attention paid to sanitising high contact surfaces including trolleys, baskets, and checkout areas.

Customers are being encouraged to pay via tap-and-go.

Masks and gloves are not being recommended for shopping, in line with health department advice.

Bakery departments are also making changes, with items including bread baked on site to be pre-wrapped to ensure products are not contaminated.

Checkout staff will also be regularly rotated.

"We know this is a big change for customers, and we are asking that we can all work together and make that happen from today," Coles Chief Operations Officer Matt Swindells told the Nine network.

Meanwhile, Woolworths is rolling out 'sneeze screens' at its manned checkouts, along with extra security guards.

Plexiglass screens have already been installed at some stores, with the rest to follow in coming weeks.

Staff greeting shoppers will wipe down baskets and trolleys, and direct people to information boards about how to maintain a safe distance, and purchasing limits on some products.

Woolies is also keeping some self-serve and express checkouts closed, to ensure people are not too close to each other.