Coronavirus case increase sees Woolworths encourage masks in NSW, ACT and some Queensland stores

Woolworths has announced customers and staff will be “strongly encouraged” to wear facial coverings in NSW, ACT and some Queensland stores from next week due to the increase in coronavirus cases.

Woolworths released a statement on Thursday saying the request would apply to its supermarkets, metro stores, Big W, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and ALH Hotels from Monday.

New South Wales has seen 150 new cases of coronavirus cases across the last fortnight and has issued public health alerts for multiple venues across Sydney after confirmed cases.

An epidemiologist has urged Sydneysiders to wear face coverings on public transport, but the NSW Government has ruled out making them mandatory for now.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the request was for the “safety and wellbeing of our customers, teams and communities”.

“Even though wearing a face covering is not mandatory in NSW, ACT or Queensland, as the largest private sector employer with stores in almost every community, we feel it’s important we lead the way in helping reduce community transmission of COVID-19,” he said.

“We’re asking our teams to lead by example, and this includes our group executive team.

“Masks and face coverings are a highly visible symbol of the persistence of COVID-19. By encouraging and role modelling their use, it will further support the steps we need to collectively take to stop the spread of the virus and keep our team and customers safe.”

Woolworths also “strongly encouraged” customers and staff at Woolworths Group stores “within hot spot areas” in Queensland to wear facial coverings from Friday.

Queensland Health has launched a contact tracing and testing response in Logan and Brisbane’s southside encompassing multiple restaurants, two schools and a medical practice after two new COVID-19 cases were detected.

The front of the Woolworths in Spring Farm under a cloudy sky.
Woolworths says the move is due to an increase in coronavirus cases.(ABC News: Kevin Diallo)

The statement said face coverings would be provided for staff to wear for the foreseeable future.

Masks have been shown to offer protection against both getting and spreading the virus.

The Woolworths statement said face coverings would be mandatory in all Victorian stores from Sunday, in line with the Victorian Government’s announcement for compulsory use across the state.

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