Supermarkets Introduce 'One In, One Out' Policies To Deal With Easter Rush

Supermarkets and other retailers have started limiting the number of customers allowed in stores as the Easter holiday rush approaches.

Traditionally, the Thursday in the lead up to Easter is one of the busiest days for supermarkets as families stock up for the weekend.

But the coronavirus pandemic means the Easter shop will be different this year.

Lines are starting to appear outside supermarkets after Coles, Woolworths and IGA introduced new measures on the weekend to allow social distancing and manage the Easter rush.

Woolworths started limiting the number of customers allowed in-store at any one time on Monday.

Woolworths Supermarket Managing Director Claire Peters said the rule would be implemented "from time to time", with the number of customers allowed inside dependent on the size of the store.

"Our store managers will use common sense discretion to manage this in the interest of community safety," she said.

Shoppers are seen waiting outside a Coles supermarket at Firle in Adelaide. Image: AAP

Customers should also expect signs and coned-off areas to indicate where they should queue while maintaining 1.5 metres apart from one another.

Physical distancing rules across Australia outline there must be at least four square metres per person indoors.

Peters encouraged shoppers to pre-plan their Easter shopping to avoid the usual Thursday spike.

"We ask that you follow their instructions and any signs in-store so we can safely serve as many customers in the community as possible," she said.

Woolworths has also switched on its pick up service for 'priority assistance' customers, such as seniors, those with a disability or compromised immunity, who can shop online and have a family member or friend collect their order on their behalf.



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Coles also may introduce a similar limit for customers when stores are busy.

"Team members will be at store entrances to provide assistance and let you know when it is OK to come in," CEO Steven Cain said on Sunday.

Coles has also extended its trading hours to 7am - 10pm, with some stores open until midnight. A supermarket spokesperson said checkouts and self-service areas have additional cleaning every hour, plus more wipes for baskets and trolleys.

"To help minimise close contact time, we’ll be asking you to follow the directional signs around the store, pack your own bags at the checkout, scan your own flybuys card and use tap & go payment," the spokesperson said.

Supermarkets aren't the only ones encouraging shoppers to get in early this Easter -- Bunnings is helping Aussies to plan ahead with an Instagram series on affordable DIY projects.

Bunnings has introduced similar changes to its stores in recent weeks, including limiting the number of customers allowed in stores and in busy aisles and placing trestle tables in front of service areas.

Acrylic guards have been installed at registers and counters, while floors have been taped with 1.5m markings outside stores.

Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider said stores have been working to ensure customers can access all the products they might need, particularly over Easter.

“We’ve been working hard with our suppliers to ensure availability of key products and we’re committed to keeping our team and customers as safe as possible," he said.