Woolworths introduces 'quiet hours' at St George stores

Chris Chippendale from Life Without Barriers with Woolworths team members
Chris Chippendale from Life Without Barriers with Woolworths team members

Heading to the shops can be a daunting experience for people with sensory sensitivity.

But that ordeal can become a little easier in several St George suburbs with the introduction of quiet hours at Woolworths.

The stores Hurstville, Wolli Creek, Riverwood and Kinsgrove will offer low-sensory shopping experiences on Tuesday mornings.

The quiet hours are designed to reduce anxiety and sensory stress for Woolies customers with varied needs.

Their introduction is part of a nationwide roll-out of quiet hours in Woolworths stores. More than 260 stores across the country currently have quiet hour sessions.

St George shoppers will be able to enjoy the minimised sensory experiences between 10.30am and 11.30am every Tuesday.

During this time the store will lower lights, turn down music and radio volumes, turn off oven buzzers, reduce the volume on store phones and registers, clear store entryways, remove roll cages from the shop floor and stop all PA announcements (excluding in cases of emergency).

Woolies manager Sal El Kheir said the company recognised a need for the quiet hours.

"Our customers have told us there's a need in the community for a low-sensory shopping experience in the area, so we're pleased to expand Quiet Hour to Woolworths Hurstville, Wolli Creek, Riverwood and Kingsgrove," he said.

"Our team takes great pride in ensuring the store is quieter and less stressful for customers who want to shop during Quiet Hour and we look forward to welcoming them in store."

The low sensory initiative was developed in consultation with disability service providers at Life Without Barriers.

Life Without Barriers Chief Executive Claire Robbs said she was pleased Woolworths jumped on board.

"Quiet Hour is a fantastic initiative by Woolworths that recognises the different needs of some customers," she said.

"It gives people a way to do their shopping and increase their independence in an environment that is not stressful and overwhelming to them."