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We have seen it before, panic buying and a shortage of supplies on supermarket shelves, especially toilet paper, as a COVID-19 lockdown was announced. Supermarkets introduced drastic new measures to address this, which included strict limits on item purchases per transaction, priority deliveries and restricted access times for Australians who are older or have a disability. 

Major supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths have acted to address access and inclusion issues surrounding people with disabilities and older Australians getting what they need at this crucial time. Smaller and independent retailers may have similar schemes in place so please talk to your local grocers directly if it doesn’t appear below. It is times like these that communities need to work together for the greater good. 

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Purchase limits

Only buy what you need

Staff shortages across the supermarket sector, industry staff shortages in agriculture and food processing, as well as supply chain and logistic challenges can create shortages of supply. As people are required to isolate, this has flow-on effects.

It is important to remember that supermarkets and other essential services will continue to operate, and you will be allowed to leave your home to access essential services like getting your groceries, medications and seeking medical care. There is no need to panic buy. What we mean when we say 'panic buy' is buying up all the available stock on the shelf of your local supermarket. This is selfish and creates a ripple effect, where customers who come after you cannot get the everyday basic items that they need to live, things like toilet paper, soap, bread, milk and baked beans. 

Major supermarkets introduce buying limits when shortages may arise. Check the website of your supermarket retailer for the most up to date information.


Woolworths list current buying limits when relevant. These apply to in-store and online purchases, some limits are state-based and some may be nationwide from time to time. 

Visit Latest news and in-store COVID-19 cases to keep up to date with the latest news and customer notices on in-store COVID-19 cases for Woolworths, Woolworths Metro and BIG W. 


Both in-store and online, Coles will impose purchasing limits as required. These may apply regionally, statewide or nationally depending on current restrictions and hotspots. Temporary pack limits are in place

As at January 2022, due to high demand, Coles have introduced temporary pack limits per transaction/per customer on a range of products in-store and online.

  • Hough Covid-19 Home Test Kit - 1 pack (excluding WA)
  • Chicken breasts - 2 packs
  • Chicken thighs - 2 packs
  • Mince - 2 packs
  • Sausages - 2 packs

Harris Farm

Purchasing limits may be introduced from time to time, depending on hotspots and restrictions. 

Check Harris Farm - Product limits and Harris Farm - COVID-19 customer notices for the latest information. 

Other stores

For all other supermarkets, check their website or call your local store or their customer service line to find out if there are any purchase limits in your area.  

Home Delivery

A great alternative to going to the supermarket right now is to order online or over the phone and have your groceries delivered to your home or collect them from the store. 

NDIS Participants

Last year, the NDIA worked with supermarket retailers to make sure NDIS participants who needed support to get their groceries, had priority access to home delivery services.

It meant that NDIS participants could purchase grocery items online to be delivered to their homes. This was achieved by the NDIA sending participants a unique home delivery access code by SMS or email they could use to access priority home delivery services. This scheme is no longer in place but may be introduced in the event of further lockdowns. 

More info: Priority home delivery service for NDIS participants

Coles Online Priority Service (COPS)

Coles Online has created COPS for its most vulnerable customer. This means that customers who can’t shop in-store can have groceries delivered to their homes. A “Click & Collect” service option has also launched to help customers who live in regions where delivery services are not available. Carers, family and neighbours simply need to show the Click&Collect order confirmation when collecting the shopping on behalf of a COPS registered customer.

COPS is currently being made available to vulnerable customers, including customers who are My Aged Care and NDIS participants. 

  • People over 65 years of age with a My Aged Care number or NDIS number;
  • Participants of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) who have been sent a unique code they can use to access a number of services including COPS;
  • Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 with a My Aged Care number or NDIS number;
  • Aged care, disability care and other businesses that support vulnerable members of the community.
  • Department of Veteran Affairs (Gold cardholders)
  • Senior Cardholders

To access the Coles Online Priority Service, register or log in to Coles Online and apply using the code provided by one of the abovementioned organisations. To find out more go to Coles Online Priority Service Information or check their easy Step by Step guide to online shopping here. 

Contactless Click&Collect and Home Delivery services

Coles have increased capacity in online shopping services. These services include contactless Click&Collect or Home Delivery options. 

All deliveries will be to the doorstep in our Coles Better Bags.

Exceptions can be made for customers with disabilities preventing them from being able to retrieve their groceries from the doorstep, and in this instance, the driver will be able to bring them into the customer’s home.

Please note that due to COVID-19 this will only be possible in exceptional circumstances.

For customers who have never shopped online with Coles before, they have a step-by-step guide and video to help you. 


Coles have partnered with Airtasker to provide same-day delivery of grocery shopping items where Airtaskers are available in your suburb. This is essentially a personal shopping service where an Airtasker will go to the supermarket, purchase items on your shopping list and deliver them to you. You will have to pay the Airtasker for their time on top of the cost of your groceries, however, so this option will not work for everyone. 

If you have an NDIS package, you may be able to use your funding to pay the Airtasker to get and bring your groceries to you. NDIS will not cover the cost of your groceries though, as these are everyday expenses not related to your disability. 

Go to Airtasker - Coles to order your groceries this way. If you want an Airtasker to go to somewhere other than Coles for you, then you can still Post a Task to Airtasker in the usual way. 

For more information go to www.airtasker.com 

UberEats, Door Dash and Deliveroo etc. 

Where delivery options are not available directly from supermarkets, many online food delivery platforms have partnered with supermarkets such as IGA, Coles and Woolies, to enable customers, especially those in isolation, to still get their groceries.

Go to UberEats.com, Deliveroo.com.au or Doordash.com or use your smartphone app to search for groceries near you. 

Harris Farm Priority Home Delivery Service

To ensure vulnerable people in the community have quicker access to delivery services at this time, Harris Farm is providing a Priority Assistance service with dedicated 2-day delivery windows for 100 NDIS participants a day. To be eligible you must be an NDIS participant and live within the normal Harris Farm delivery areas (Metropolitan Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle Central and South Coasts and Canberra regions). The NDIS will give you a unique NDIS priority home delivery code.

Once you have your code, there are a few steps to take to get your groceries.

  1. Complete your shopping online for home delivery.
  2. When prompted at checkout enter your unique priority home delivery code.
  3. Submit your order.
  4. Wait for your delivery.

For more information, go to Harris Farm Priority Home Delivery Service. 

Woolworths Priority Assistance

To ensure vulnerable customers in the community have access to delivery services at this time, Woolworths is providing a Priority Assistance service with dedicated delivery windows. Eligible customers include seniors, people with a disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate.

To register for Priority Assistance you must register or log in to Woolworths Online, complete the Priority Assistance form and include any supporting documentation.

FoodWorks Priority Home Delivery

Visit FoodWorks Priority Home Delivery to find out availability. 

With over 220 stores around Australia now offering phone or email orders, you can stay home and Foodworks deliver your groceries to you. Simply enter your address on their site and see if a participating store can assist. Additionally, as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting communities, the NDIS, The Department of Veterans Affairs and My Aged Care has worked with participating Independent FoodWorks stores to make sure customers, who are unable to shop in their usual way, have priority access to home delivery services.

This means if you have an NDISMy Aged Care, or Veteran Gold Card Number you get priority to purchase essential grocery items online to be delivered to your home.

More information on general FoodWorks online shopping available here.

Other options

There are plenty of other home grocery and meal delivery options you might like to try if your usual grocery run is difficult or you don't feel comfortable or safe doing your usual grocery shop. If your supermarket is not listed here, contact your local grocer or supermarket and ask what schemes or systems they have in place to help vulnerable people get their groceries in relation to COVID-19. 

If you are an NDIS participant, you may be able to get some of the cost of your meal prep and/or delivery funded by your NDIS package, but not the cost of the food itself. 

  • Hello Fresh - delivers DIY meals - portioned ingredients and step by step recipes to follow. 
  • Youfoodz - delivers ready-made meals and fresh produce boxes.
  • Kinela (previously Hit100) - delivers healthy home-delivered meals for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions. 
  • Nourished - Registered NDIS provider which home delivers fresh, healthy and gluten-free meals. 

Food Relief

In South Australia, food relief is available through the Department of Human Services Emergency Financial Assistance Program this entails food vouchers, parcels or referrals to Foodbank. You can find your regional contact through Help with food and other basics or call the COVID-19 Relief Call Centre is available to help between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm every day. Phone 1300 705 336

For Victorian's a coronavirus food relief package is a free service for people who have to self-isolate because they have coronavirus. A package may also be available for people who cannot get help from family or friends. 

A relief package can include food and personal items. If you need a relief package, call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. The relief packages will be provided at no cost.

pdfCoronavirus Emergency relief packages Easy Read version

Wear a mask - if you can

If you are shopping for groceries in-store, you may need to wear a mask. In NSW and many other places, people are required to wear masks when in public and enclosed spaces, like supermarkets. If you can wear a mask, it is a good idea whether it is required or not. If you can't, because of disability or a chronic health condition, then don't feel like you can't enter a space. There are legitimate reasons for not being able to wear a mask, and you can find out more below. 

Disability and Face Masks - COVID-19
Special conditions for not wearing a face mask

QR Code Sign-in 

Depending on where in Australia you are, you may need to sign in using a QR code when you enter the supermarket and sign out when you leave. This has been mandated in several places. To activate the QR Code, simply hold your smartphone up with the camera app open and the QR code in the camera's field of view. If your camera app is not QR code compatible, you may need a third-party QR Code reader app. The QR code should launch your government contact tracing sign-in form. This allows contact tracers to contact anyone who may have been a close or casual contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case. 

Your data is private and can only be used to keep the community safe from an outbreak. There is more information about QR code sign-in requirements below.

NSW and QR Codes
Check-In Qld App


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