For years Woolworths has offered “hygiene stations” in stores across the country, providing wipes free of charge so concerned customers can give their trolleys or baskets a quick swipe before using, although not all shoppers are aware of the concept.
A Woolworths spokeswoman told news.com.au the hygiene stations were not a new initiative.
“We regularly clean our trolleys and baskets in our stores,” the spokeswoman said.
“We also provide hygiene stations — with antibacterial wipes for customers — next to our trolley bays.
“These have been available in our stores for a number of years and remain popular with many of our customers.”
A Coles spokeswoman told news.com.au free hygiene wipes were also available at Coles supermarkets.
“Our baskets are cleaned daily and trolleys are washed when required,” the spokeswoman confirmed.
“We also have hygienic wipe dispensers available for customers at the majority of our stores across the country.
“If hygienic wipes are not available, customers can ask at the customer service desk and our team members can assist them.”
In 2018, after wipes were installed at Coles Burnside in South Australia, one grateful customer took to Facebook to praise the initiative.
“Today I was alerted to the newly-introduced antibacterial trolley wipes and paper available in the trolley bay,” the customer wrote.
“The management of Coles … ought to be congratulated for this simple but much-needed initiative. My prayer has been answered!
“I hope all other supermarkets will follow suit. It is called customer service and hygiene … Well done Coles!!”
News of the service is especially welcome as the world grapples with the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The Chinese province of Hubei that is “ground zero” for the coronavirus has so far recorded 549 deaths as a result of the illness, with 19,665 infections.
There have now been confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the world including Australia, where 14 patients are being treated in hospitals.
Health authorities are scrambling to halt the spread of the virus, which has killed hundreds in China, restricting visitors from the country and confining thousands on cruise ships for extensive screening after some passengers tested positive.
But with important details about the illness and how it spreads still unknown, officials and medical personnel are struggling.
Governments have rushed to get their citizens out of China as it orchestrates history’s largest antiviral campaign by blocking 50 million people from leaving Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, and nearby areas.