Health & Wellbeing

How to Navigate Supermarkets During COVID-19

Going to the supermarket is not as simple as it used to be. Jayme Zimmermann guides us through some of the changes you need to know when grocery shopping.

To protect our health and safety, the Australian government has issued new laws which attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has ultimately changed our everyday lives over the last few months. Even the simple task of grocery shopping, which now isn’t so simple at all, has changed as supermarkets push new policies to both protect customers and staff.

As many of us know by now it is important to self-isolate as much as possible, but when you do head out to go to the shops there are a few things you should be aware of:

Social Distancing

Customers have been advised to keep 1.5 metres apart from other customers whilst shopping. A good guide is to stay a trolley’s length away from other people. In most stores, there are also clear floor markings to indicate where you can line up within a safe distance. Supermarkets, such as Woolworths, have also issued new Plexiglass screens across staffed checkouts to reduce contact as much as possible.


Image by Oleg Magni from Pexels, no edits made.

Registers and self-serve checkouts are also being spaced out to ease congestion and reduce contact. Supermarkets are also limiting the number of people in stores. These actions are for your own health and safety, as well as for those around you.

Supermarket Hygiene

Across all supermarkets, new measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Heavily touched surfaces, such as manned registers and self-serve area,  are being cleaned regularly.

Baskets and trolleys are also being cleaned for customers, with some supermarkets having attendants at the entrances to make sure they are clean for each customer. Customers who are bringing their own bags are now being asked by some supermarkets to pack their own bags.

Purchasing Limits

Due to panic buying, limits on items have been put in place across all supermarkets. This is to allow everyone to get the items they need.

It is important for everyone to follow these limits. Yes, this means you cannot put limited items through a separate transaction, as it would defeat the whole purpose of these limits.

Shoppers should also be aware, supermarkets have changed their return policies to exclude limited items. This is to prevent people trying to return panic bought items.

To help you plan before you shop, visit these major supermarkets websites for information on the current limits set in place: Coles  |  Woolworths  |  Aldi

Trading Hours

Trading hours for all major grocery stores are also subject to change during this time. It is important to always check online or call your local store to check if these times have changed recently: Coles  |  Woolworths  |  Aldi

Delivery Options

It is important to be safe whilst shopping. For individuals who are high risk or vulnerable, there are delivery options available, but these are in high demand. Here are some links of where you can apply for these services at major supermarkets: Coles  |  Woolworths


It’s important to stay safe during these hard times, so here are some final tips:

  • Write a shopping list to prevent unneeded exposure or delay when shopping
  • Make sure you’ve washed or sanitised your hands before entering your local supermarket, and if possible, keep your hand sanitiser with you
  • Follow the marked paths and keep 1.5 metres away from other customers
  • Don’t touch anything that you don’t need to. This includes surfaces and items
  • Listen to staff directions when entering and exiting stores


Feature Image by Pixabay, via, original image cropped.

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