NEW NORMAL: Woolworths and many other supermarkets have introduced plexiglass screens to protect workers from being exposed to coronavirus. Picture: Dallas Kilponen
NEW NORMAL: Woolworths and many other supermarkets have introduced plexiglass screens to protect workers from being exposed to coronavirus. Picture: Dallas Kilponen

‘The new normal’: What shopping will look like post-pandemic

SHOPPERS should prepare themselves for the “new normal”, with current hygiene measures at supermarkets likely to stay in effect even after restrictions are reduced.

The Lockyer Valley has been fortunate during the pandemic, with just one confirmed case of coronavirus in the region, but supermarkets have still been diligently following all of the safety and cleaning guidelines set out by the government.

“We’ve got the sneeze guards at the registers, we’ve got hand sanitiser at the front entrance, and we’ve also got more cleaning at frequent touch points in the store, the doors on the fridges, and everything like that,” Spano’s IGA Gatton Store Manager Jason Rayner said.

“We’ve had a good response from customers here, we haven’t had much of the drama that’s been happening at these other supermarkets around Australia, especially during the early stages of the panic buying.”

With some restrictions relaxed at the weekend, and talk of more being reduced in the week to come, the store has already been experiencing a rise in customers.

“I’m seeing more people come through,” Mr Rayner said.

“As well as restrictions relaxing, I think there’s more relaxing as customers go, people are feeling a little more at ease with it.”

READ MORE: New safety measures introduced Lockyer supermarket

With the reduction of restrictions, some are already wondering what will come after the emergency is over, and whether safety measures instituted now will remain after the crisis has passed.

Mr Rayner said it was likely too early to make a decision on the subject.

“It hasn’t really been discussed with us at this point in time, from our company. Obviously with restrictions relaxing we’ll have to start looking into what sort of measures will come into place, with getting more cleaning done on a regular basis,” he said.

“As they’ve said on the news, this probably could be around for a couple of years. It’s as they’ve said, the new normal, so it’s something that we’re going to have to get used to incorporating into our daily routines, to keep the frequency of cleaning going.”

READ MORE: Restrictions hopeful as PM flags move to ease bans – but when?

Woolworths echoed the sentiment that hygiene measures would be remaining in place for the foreseeable future.

“Our social distancing measures have been well received by our customers and team members to date and we’re grateful for the community support of this important public health effort,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.

“The safety and health of our teams and customers is our number one priority, and we will continue to look at ways to support social distancing and the health and wellbeing of team and customers.

READ MORE: The COVID-19 heroes holding our region together

It was a similar story from Coles, whose spokesperson said decisions would be based on advice from government authorities.

“We understand that given the current restrictions it can be challenging for some of our customers to visit our stores or complete their shopping as they normally would. The current social distancing measures in place will allow us to continue to safely serve as many customers in the community as possible,” the spokesperson said.

“We continue to work closely with the Australian Government to review our health and safety arrangements in line with their recommendations.”


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