Coles has announced new measures to help keep staff and customers safe as the community transitions to a new phase of living and working with Covid.
All staff will be required to be vaccinated as a condition of working at any of Coles’ stores, distribution centres and other sites in New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria, unless they have a valid exemption.
Government health orders also require Coles team members in the Northern Territory and Coles supermarket team members in Western Australia to be vaccinated in order to work. The retailer will work with staff in those states to help them access vaccination so that they can comply with the regulations.
Coles Group CEO Steven Cain says the retailer has “encouraged and supported” staff to access vaccinations as soon as they became eligible, to reduce the risk of infection for themselves, their colleagues and their families.
“We’ve been pleased with the uptake of the vaccine by our team members, and we owe it to them to ensure that as many of their colleagues as possible also do their bit by getting the jab,” he says.
Providing a safe environment for team members and customers has been Coles’ top priority throughout the pandemic, Mr Cain adds
“We have worked hand-in-hand with health authorities and adopted their recommended safety measures, allowing us to keep our 120,000-plus team members and millions of customers safe,” he says.
“As people are able to circulate more freely in NSW, ACT and Victoria, health authorities have warned that Covid case numbers in these states are expected to increase, which also means a higher risk of positive cases visiting our stores.
As part of the new requirements, Coles staff in NSW and the ACT must have received at least one vaccination by 5 November and have received a second dose by 17 December. In Victoria, NT and WA, team members are required to be vaccinated in line with the dates set out in public health orders.
In each state where Coles staff are required to vaccinate as a condition of work, either as a result of government health orders or as part of Coles’ updated Covid safety measures, Coles intends to maintain this requirement as an ongoing policy.
Coles says it will continue to work with health authorities and team members to strongly encourage the uptake of vaccination in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, where vaccination is not currently required as a condition of work.
As a designated essential service, Coles will continue to serve all customers regardless of their vaccination status, in line with government requirements.