Media

Message from Jeff Rogut

 AACS CEO

Sunday 22nd March 2020

Good afternoon,

Firstly thank you again to our thousands of store operators and their staff for continuing to keep their stores trading and in many cases being an important support for their communities. Thank you also to our suppliers for continuing to ensure that our stores receive the stock they require to satisfy their customer needs, albeit often under difficult circumstances.

When this crisis passes, as it will, we will look back and mostly remember the little acts of kindness and respectful attitudes of our fellow Australians and how we treated one another and not the rudeness of some. It will again be the ordinary Australians that will save the day, whether working in retail, in our emergency services or just as good citizens adhering to the medical advice on social distancing etc.

  • There have been a number of government announcements this past week and even today on support available for businesses been and no doubt as this crisis unfolds, there will be more to come. See below for the latest this morning.
  • Check with your accountant or financial adviser as to what your business may be eligible to claim.
  • We have also seen more restrictions come into force on everything from travel to space for patrons of restaurants etc and no doubt we will see more on those fronts too.
  • Tasmania has closed its borders and SA and the NT has announced that it will do so in coming days.
  • There will be discussions at the national cabinet level this evening on whether further shutdowns are to be imposed. Both Victoria and NSW are also pushing for schools to be closed and shutdowns on non essential businesses this coming week. Keep a watch on the media for announcements.

Continual health updates are being provided by the government and its various agencies. A useful resource is at: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus  For more information on coronavirus in the work place please visit: WorkSafe – exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

What is AACS working on?

  • Communicating with State and Federal Governments to ensure that our stores, as an essential service, can stay open at all times [subject to owner’s discretion on the health situation at the time] if shutdowns or lockdowns are imposed.
  • Communicating with Government on working hours for casuals on visas
  • Keeping the media updated with our industry activities
  • Communicating on any initiatives and information that affects our industry
  • Talking with suppliers about supply situations for our stores
  • Continuing to talk with Police about current and potential future crime in the current environment.
  • AACS 2019 State of the Industry Report – we will ensure that you receive this electronically when ready towards the end of April as scheduled.
  • Weeks ago when it started becoming clear that unfortunately the current crisis was not a short term event we either cancelled or postponed some of our major events including our planned overseas study tour. New dates and events will be advised when the situation has been stabilised.

There are importantly practical measures we can take to make our stores safer for our staff and customers. No doubt many of our retailers are already doing some of these things and probably much more, however here are a few areas that we should focus on:

  • Everyone must practice good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading
  • Regular cleaning of fuel pumps to prevent the virus spread – also do this at times when there are customers on the forecourt as a signal that we are very aware of health concerns and obligations. Where possible have towel available, sanitiser and gloves for customer use.
  • Regular hand washing by all staff
  • Have sanitiser available for customers use as staff in store
  • Ask customers to pay with tap and go “whenever you can” to avoid staff touching notes and coins.
  • Supermarkets are using a new guideline to use trolleys as a device to help people keep their 1.5 metre social distance, particularly in checkout queues. If shoppers keep their trolley, which is between them and the person in front it will help limit the virus’s spread.  Some stores will now have markers on the floor leading up to the registers one trolley length apart. So even if you don’t have a trolley, you can still judge the gap to maintain between you and the next shopper. This may be useful for some of our high volume fuel locations.

 Australia Post Shop

  • Regular thorough cleaning of food equipment, cool room handles, coffee machines etc , and toilets where available
  • Frequent cleaning high touch surfaces
  • Sanitizing pin pads and ATM’s
  • Some stores have stopped  refilling coffee cups
  • Stores may need to increase their cleaning time and staff held to new stringent standards
  • Where possible upgrade to hospital-grade disinfectant and  focus on regular cleaning of counters and other surfaces
  • Wearing protective gloves by staff  as an additional precaution when handling cash etc; must be changed is handling food

We will provide updates on any meaningful information and similarly if you have any stories about what’s happening in your community that we may share with others and even the media who are looking for good news stories and examples  among the gloom, please feel free to contact me at any time at jeff@aacs.org.au

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