Kmart NSW reopens: John Gualtieri says only shoppers who have been vaccinated against Covid can enter stores

The CEO of Kmart has issued a statement that will affect all NSW shoppers as the retailer continues to see people flocking to stores.

Kmart has confirmed that unvaccinated customers will not be allowed to shop in NSW stores unless they have a medical exemption.

Chief Executive John Gualtieri said he was announcing the move in line with NSW government regulations.

In the note to shoppers, Mr Gualtieri said: “As per the requirements of the NSW Government, customers will need to demonstrate that they have received a full Covid-19 vaccination, unless a medical exception applies.” “We ask for your patience and support as we roll out this new process across our network of stores.”

The announcement comes as customers continue to flow into Kmart, with one Sydney store facing a 200m queue to leave to buy items only.

Photos and videos of Kmart’s wild scenes have drawn criticism, with people arguing that the footage shows shoppers not adhering to social distancing rules.

Under NSW’s roadmap to reopening retail stores, shoppers with full vaccinations were allowed to open on Monday, however, they are limited to one person per four square metres.

Aren’t there supposed to be limits for customers to ensure social distancing? One person tweeted.

“I definitely hope they (NSW) keep mask-wearing and social distancing,” he said. Another said. “It doesn’t seem to happen in Kmart formations.”

a Kmart A news.com.au spokeswoman said Covid safety was the “first priority” and that they were adhering to government-imposed store limits.

“For some of our stores, this is our first day open to customers in over 100 days, and we are delighted to welcome back many of our family in NSW on day one,” a company spokeswoman said.

“In many of our stores today, there were queues for entry and departure, as our team and customers adapt to new processes and government requirements including checking vaccination status.

“We are very grateful to all of our customers who respected this.

“Many of our stores are large format and all have strict discounted capacity limits that were adhered to today and we thank our customers for being patient with us and ask for their continued support in following in-store safety guidelines including social distancing, using QR codes and wearing masks.”

Why Kmart?

Those who did not hit Kmart with a stroke Monday midnight expressed disbelief at the “crazy” scenes.

According to Queensland University of Technology consumer and retail behavior expert Gary Mortimer, the madness at Kmart and other previously closed services can be attributed to the prolonged restrictions.

“For the rest of this week, people will be keen to go out, take selfies of themselves at a restaurant, at a bar, or at a retail store, and engage in that activity they haven’t been involved in for some time,” he told New Daily.

One person on TikTok Many argued hitting Kmart for “the thrill of being back again”, while another said it “was nice to see everyone excited about getting some normalcy back into their lives”.

Others have even gone so far as to say it is arrogant to criticize those who thronged to Kmart on the first day of reopening.

What were shoppers buying?

While many shoppers are only happy to return to the stores, Kmart were particularly interested in stocking new toys, Christmas paraphernalia, homeware and spring and summer clothing, a spokeswoman told news.com.au.

On Monday, Big W reported a massive 453 percent increase in sales over the previous week, while sleepwear was up 395 percent, women’s activewear was up 325 percent and schoolwear was up 113 percent.

Like Kmart, Big W customers were also eager to celebrate, with sales of Christmas decorations up 234 percent compared to the following week.

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