Coles has announced new working regulations which requires all staff members working in stores, distribution centres and other sites within New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria to be vaccinated in the coming months unless a valid exemption is presented.
With successful Victorian and New South Wales government and LGA-specific mandates, Coles said it has incorporated these safety measures as team members and the community transition to post COVID-19 lockdowns.
Northern Territory and Western Australian team members must also be vaccinated, with the company saying it will ensure access to vaccines.
Coles Group CEO Steven Cail said the company was prioritising a safe environment for all team members.
“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.
“As people are able to circulate more freely, health authorities have warned that COVID-19 case numbers are expected to increase, which also means a higher risk of positive cases visiting our stores,” said Cail.
Timelines for team members in NSW and the ACT have been set, with one dose of the vaccine being compulsory by 5 November and the second vaccination by 17 December. Dates for team members in Victoria, Northern Territory and Western Australia align with the time frame set by public health orders.
Cail added that the group is encouraging team members to take the vaccine as soon as possible.
“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 said.
The group said it plans on maintaining compulsory vaccination as an ongoing policy to protect team members, individuals which cannot be vaccinated for medical purposes and those who are not eligible yet.
To increase team member vaccination rates in non-compulsory states Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, Coles will work closely with health authorities and staff to encourage its use.
The company said all customers regardless of vaccination status will be served and it will actively review its polices across each state as the group analyses changes in the risk of transmission.