Lisa Wilkinson's plea on The Project sparks major move from Woolies

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Lisa Wilkinson made an impassioned plea to supermarket giants and the public on The Project. Photo: Ten

Lisa Wilkinson has pleaded with the Australian public to ‘prove there is no limit to our generosity’ as the coronavirus pandemic hits the nation, and has sparked a huge response.

In an impassioned speech on The Sunday Project, Lisa addressed the rising sense of panic around food supply that has seen supermarkets across the nation become scenes of desperate fighting over essentials, and called for the elderly to be allowed an exclusive time to shop – a call Woolies promptly responded to on Monday morning.

The broadcast veteran took the opportunity to point out that those most at risk of Covid-19 – the elderly, those with disabilities, and those with pre-existing medical conditions – are the people who cannot easily access supermarkets and directly addressed the organisations with a radical idea.

“Right now its a case of survival of the fittest and, sadly, the fiercest,” the host said in a moving monologue on Sunday evening.

“And that right there is the problem.”

She pleaded with individuals to think of others when assessing their own stock.

“If you personally have more than you can use from those supermarket shops, think about donating some of it to someone you know, who may have been forgotten in all of this panic,” she said.

The host also pleaded with supermarket bosses to include the vulnerable in their planning, and suggested stores dedicate their first hour of trading to the elderly and vulnerable, allowing them the time and space to stock up on essentials before the crowds descend.

“They will be feeling very scared right now and we need to put plans in place to ensure they are not left behind,” she said.

Supermarkets respond

Supermarket shelves have been left bare as the virus spreads. Photo: AAP

Woolworths this morning announced that from Tuesday, stores will be opening from 7 am and the first hour of service will be reserved exclusively for elderly and disabled customers.

"This temporary measure will give them, and those with a disability, the opportunity to shop before ​our stores officially open - helping them obtain the ​essential ​items they need most in a less crowded environment,” Managing Director Claire Peters said.

The change will run until at least Friday, with a concession or disability card required to enter the store.

Select IGA stores are doing the same however, Coles has not yet responded to the calls from Lisa, or Woolworths’ initiative with many wondering if the supermarket will follow its competitor’s lead.

Yahoo Lifestyle has contacted Coles for comment.

The comments come as fellow broadcast journalists find themselves isolated and even testing positive to the infectious disease.

Following Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson’s shock announcement that they have the virus, Channel Nine has quarantined more than 20 staff who came into contact with Rita during a Today Extra appearance, with host Richard Wilkins the latest to test positive to the virus.

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