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.
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 said it’s important to help healthcare and emergency services workers, who are under enormous strain amid the coronavirus emergency.
Woolworths is also offering specific shopping times for the elderly, and customers with special needs.
Asked if it would match the Coles access 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.”
And, in South Australia, frontline health staff will be offered “sanctuary” in a dedicated health hotel to better protect themselves and their families against the coronavirus.
The state government is in discussion with several hotels to provide centrally-located accommodation for doctors, nurses, SA Ambulance staff and other healthcare workers.
The accommodation will be available on a priority basis for those who work in the direct ongoing clinical care of virus patients and is expected to be available within weeks.
Premier Steven Marshall said South Australians needed to look after one another like never before.
“South Australia’s health professionals are heroes of our efforts to combat COVID-19 and it’s vital that we look after those who look after us,” Marshall said.
“Providing hotel accommodation will not only offer a sanctuary for health workers during the difficult days ahead but will also give them peace of mind that they are minimising any risk to their families at undue risk.”
The recruitment and training of nurses and midwives will be also fast-tracked to ensure there are enough frontline medical staff to handle the virus.
As part of the strategy, student nurses will also work in multi-disciplinary teams in sample collection centres, testing clinics and border screening.Do you have an idea for a story?
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