As the situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) unfolds in Australia and across the globe, Outback Stores is taking every measure to respond to the changing impacts, to make sure stores remain open and well stocked whilst keeping our staff and customers safe.
In early March, Outback Stores suspended all team travel into remote communities until further notice to reduce the risk of the impact of coronavirus on vulnerable people living in those areas.
It also took a series of measures in suspending interstate travel and preventing employees from weekend travel to other areas near communities, and worked to support staff to stay in communities and “stay on country”.
The Northern Territory Government and land councils then suspended all non-essential travel into communities and on March 26, access to remote communities was restricted under Federal biosecurity laws and Northern Territory border restrictions and arrival requirements were also introduced.
Food security, the health and safety of our customers, and caring for our team has been and remains our top priority during this challenging time.
National food security working group
Outback Stores is pleased to be part of the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) Food Security Working Group.We believe collective action is required to deal with the current pandemic and its impact on a reliable supply of groceries and supplies to regional and remote Australia.
The group is a national taskforce of representatives from federal, state and territory governments, remote community store groups Outback Stores, Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA) and the Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS), Mai Wiru, and major retailers Woolworths and Coles.
It provides an important opportunity for remote community store groups to share their experience, advocate for all remote communities across Australia and to offer advice to assist independent stores that may be struggling.
Uninterrupted food supply
All freight with goods is exempt from travel and biosecurity restrictions and deliveries are being done with the highest standards of health and safety as well as increased health monitoring, sanitation and hygiene.
Outback Stores has set weekly deliveries for all stores and has increased deliveries to some communities to meet demand.
Only buy what you need
Food security for remote communities is our top priority and Outback Stores continues to work hard to supply customers with groceries, essential items, goods and take-away food.
We understand a strong supply chain is vital, now more than ever and we’re working very closely with our supply partners to help keep up with increased demand.
At times, some items will sell out – our team, our suppliers and the manufacturers are working tirelessly to keep shelves stocked. If a product isn’t available or it takes longer to go through the checkout, please be patient and kind to our team – they’re working hard to serve you.
Buy only what you need. If everyone does this, there will be enough for everyone.
Working and Shopping Safely
The health and safety of our customers and our team are our top priority, so we’ve introduced some important changes in stores:
- Practicing social distancing. Keeping 1.5 metres, or a trolley length away from others
- There are signs around the store and stickers on the floor to help keep a safe distance.
- The number of customers in store at any one time has been limited.
- Hand sanitiser is available at the front of the store.
- Paying by card instead of cash as much as possible.
- Customers are packing their own bags.
- We’ve increased cleaning and sanitisation with all public contact surfaces.
- If you aren’t feeling well, please stay at home, ask family or friends to shop for you.
We appreciate your understanding and support in these unprecedented times.