Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Playing our part in our communities across Australia
WHSmith has served communities for over 228 years in the UK and we have continued this tradition in Australia. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have been committed to continuing to play our part in the communities we serve.
We are extremely proud of our colleagues who have done an outstanding job throughout this challenging period and their health and wellbeing continues to be at the forefront of everything we do.
Throughout these challenging times, we took the decision to keep our stores open in the specific communities that most needed our services. These included our café locations in hospitals, where we continue to support staff on the frontline. In addition, our stores in selected airports and shopping centres have continued to provide the communities they serve with travel essentials and everyday needs.
From June 2020 we started to re-open selected stores with our colleagues and customers health and wellbeing being our number one priority. Each of our stores will re-open with new precautionary measures in place to protect both our colleagues and our customers.
Protecting our colleagues and customers
We are very proud of our colleagues who are doing an outstanding job in serving our customers. Their health and wellbeing remain our key priority and in recent months we have continued to develop and improve our safety measures across our stores in line with new government guidelines and advice.
Stores that continue to trade have effective safety measures in place, which will be extended to all stores as they re-open. These include:
- Social distancing measures, including signage asking all customers to respect a safe distance of 1.5 metres from other people, floor markings and decals and staff supervision at queues and till points
- Hand sanitiser available at store till points for customers and our team to use
- Protective screens at till points
- Guidelines to limit the number of customers in store
- Cleaning schedules prioritising contact areas that are likely to be most frequently touched such as chip-and-pin devices, self-service registers and high touch surfaces such as door handles.
- Encouraging customers to make payment by contactless card wherever possible to maintain the recommended social distance and prevent the need for colleagues to handle cash
- Amended procedures for re-merchandising stores, to minimise the need for colleagues and customers to be in close proximity
- Publication of guidance, using posters in prominent locations, on practical behaviours to adopt when hand-washing
Since March 2020, our Support Office staff have been working remotely, with virtual meetings replacing face to face meetings wherever possible.
The wellbeing of our colleagues’ mental health continues to remain a priority and we have shared reminders with all our colleagues on how to access our wide-ranging support plan. This includes our Employee Assistance Programme to support with counselling services, the WHSmith Benevolent Fund to support employees and their families with financial hardship, as well as access to trained Mental Health First Aiders across our organisation in Australia.
Supporting our hospital and health workers
Since March 2020, we have increased our support for health workers during this critical period.
We have donated thousands of coffees to support front-line healthcare workers across our hospital café locations and have been offering hospital staff discounts across our offering in our hospital cafe locations.
Our hospital café locations are also providing everyday essentials to staff, including bread and milk, making grocery shopping quicker and easier for front line workers.
Supporting our local communities
WHSmith Australia has continued to support our charity partners. In July we donated over $25,000 to our primary charity partner Save The Children to support its efforts in providing support to needy and underprivileged children in Australia, now and in the months to come. This donation will enable its team of volunteers across the country to help children and their families to stay well at home and access healthcare and education support they need.
We have also made stock and/or monetary donations to support local charities including:
- OZ Harvest
- Red Cross Australia
To check which of our locations are open, and their trading hours please check our store finder here.