One day after rival Woolworths announced it will require all staff in Australia to be fully vaccinated, Coles has followed suit, stating workers in New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria will need to be vaccinated in order to work.
According to Coles, health orders also require its team members to be vaccinated in the Northern Territory, and supermarket workers need to be vaccinated in Western Australia – meaning most of its workers will have to have been vaccinated.
Staff in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania are being strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, but are not currently required to do so.
“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,” said Coles chief executive Stephen Cain.
“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.”
Staff in Victoria will need to have had their first dose by 22 October, and their second dose by 26 November, in order to continue working. Likewise, staff in New South Wales have until 5 November and 17 December, Northern Territory 13 November and 25 December, and Western Australia 31 December and 31 January, for each respective dose.
Cain said providing a safe environment for team members is Coles’ top priority, and notes that while not all staff need to be vaccinated to work, and that customers don’t need to be vaccinated to shop, these new measures will help to protect the health of Coles’ team.