A reduction in opening hours at Woolworths Thurgoona enabling the store to focus on online delivery for vulnerable customers has been met with backlash from some in the community.
Woolworths is turning 150 supermarkets into priority delivery hubs as the chain scales up its online delivery capacity.
From Thursday, trading hours were reduced to 9am to 6pm seven days a week at the Thurgoona store.
Graeme Barber has lived in the area for 20 years and said it was unfair to people in the area and resulted in more people being in the store, which did not align with social distancing aims.
"The hours were 6.30am to about 9pm, and from 7am they were letting just the elderly in which was fantastic, but they're not doing that now," he said.
"To just close the doors and shut everyone out is not good enough.
"A lady walked in this morning and said to me, 'It looks like I'll have to go to Lavington now'.
"There was more than 100 people there at half-past-five."
Mr Barber hoped Woolworths would change the hours, and at least give one more hour on either side of the current trading times.
"This is the biggest growth hub in Albury, it's not right," he said.
A Woolworths spokeswoman said the scaling up of online delivery would prioritise the elderly, people with disabilities and those in mandatory self-isolation.
"As part of this effort, we're reducing trading hours in 150 stores nationwide to turn them into 'Priority Delivery Hubs', where our teams will start and end the day focusing on preparing deliveries for those in the community who are unable to visit a store.
"We understand reduced trading hours may be frustrating for our walk-in customers, but it's a necessary step to meet an essential community need and serve the most vulnerable.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"Neighbouring stores in Lavington, central Albury and Wodonga continue to open from 7am for Community Hour, with a closing time of 8pm.
"We will be extending trading hours even further next week.
"We're investing in many more team member hours in our Priority Deliver Hubs, like Thurgoona, to dispatch more orders for online customers and replenish shelves for our walk-in customers."
The Border Mail understands the store was chosen as it previously operated as the base for the region's online delivery service.
Like all Woolworths stores, there are a range of COVID-19 measures in place at Thurgoona, which includes floor markings, signs, regular cleaning of trolleys and baskets and the supply of hand sanitisers to customers.
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