Supermarket giant Woolworths has suspended click & collect online shopping around the country as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
Home delivery has also been suspended in certain parts of rural Victoria, but will remain available in other states and in much of Melbourne.
“We have suspended click & collect pickup in all states at this point in time, and home delivery in Victoria,” said Claire Peters, managing director of Woolworths supermarkets.
“Our pick-up business is reviewed every 15 minutes, as we go through the next couple of days we will be turning stores back on where appropriate.”
Peters said that the company’s sales last week were even higher than the levels typically seen over Christmas and that while there was no supply issue, demand had spiked dramatically in recent days.
Our delivery service remains available in most parts of the country. It’s been temporarily paused in parts of VIC. We continue to service a wide range of metropolitan areas in Melbourne from our West Footscray CFC. We’ll turn deliveries back on from other VIC stores ASAP.
— Woolworths (@woolworths) March 16, 2020
A statement on the Woolworths online store reads: “Due to significant item shortages our pick up service is unavailable until further notice.”
Customers who depend these services will be able to contact the Woolworths customer helpline to ensure they can still buy groceries, Peters added.
Earlier today, news outlets reported that all online shopping had been cancelled around the country, which a spokesperson later described as “untrue”.
As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, shoppers have bought up stock of many items, including toilet paper and some foods.
The announcement comes a day after the chain introduced dedicated shopping hours for elderly and disabled people, in order for more vulnerable people to shop for groceries while maintaining social distancing.