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Coles is offering health workers and emergency services personnel special shopping hours

Photo: Health workers get special shopping hours
Doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital workers and firefighters will have exclusive access to Coles during the first hour of trade on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Coles is offering health workers and emergency services personnel special shopping hours, as Woolworths considers new ways to help customers amid the coronavirus crisis.

Coles has announced the first hour of trade on Tuesdays and Thursdays will be set aside for workers including doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital workers and firefighters.

Special access begins this Thursday.

Workers will need to be wearing their uniforms, carrying their work ID, or their Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency card to access stores when they open at 7am.
Coles says it's also in the early stages of rolling out a new priority online shopping service for Australia's most vulnerable customers, after suspending ordinary online orders last week.

Priority access for health and emergency workers won't affect existing arrangements for vulnerable and elderly customers.

Those customers will continue to have their own special shopping hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Coles Group chief executive Steven Cain says it's important to help healthcare and emergency services workers, who are under enormous strain amid the coronavirus emergency.

The retail giant says it's currently spending an extra $1 million a week to clean its stores, and increase security at its outlets.

It has also introduced measures to help customers exercise social distancing, including advice for shoppers to stay a trolley length distance away from others.

Woolworths is also offering specific shopping times for the elderly, and customers with special needs.

Asked if it would match the Coles for health workers Woolworths said: "We know there are many worthy groups across Australia who will need extra support through these challenging times.

"We're looking at how we can best serve these needs in the weeks ahead."

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