Coles will extend trading hours at the majority of its stores.
Almost 200 stores will begin trading from 6am, the supermarket giant confirmed this morning.
Coles Chief Operations Officer, Matt Swindells said more stock on shelves and improved customer behaviour meant dedicated community hours could also be lifted.
“We all remember the scenes of panic buying and seeing the vulnerable, whether that was the elderly or those who had disabilities, unable to access their staples and particularly unable to get toilet paper,” Mr Swindells told Today.
“Now those supplies have recovered, toilet paper came off restriction last week, we watched that closely through the weekend and we can open community hour up to everybody and the vulnerable. The elderly will still be able to come in at those times and get whatever products they need in a safe way.”
A dedicated community hour was introduced by Coles to allow elderly and more vulnerable shoppers a chance to buy items that were in high demand.
This meant stores were only accessible to those specific customers from 7am until 8am, before others were allowed in.
Mr Swindells said now that demand for items like toilet paper, cleaning products and baking supplies were starting to return to normal, the community hours would be relaxed.
He also said by opening stores from 6am, this would allow home-schooling parents more opportunity to get to stores around their other commitments.
“This is about giving to everybody and making sure Coles is accessible for all,” Mr Swindells said.
He said as stores work on replenishing their stock, restrictions would continue to ease with more brands and item sizes available to shoppers.
Mr Swindells warned that while item restrictions would ease, stores will continue to enforce safety protocols for customers and team members.
He said people should continue to practice social distancing, use hand sanitiser and stay home if they are feeling unwell.
“We are seeing the stores get busier as the easing of restrictions comes down the pipe. Let’s keep the calm confidence but let’s not get complacent,” Mr Swindells said.
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