A key operator of general stores in remote NT communities is working to build reserves for four weeks.
Outback Stores says it is taking every measure to respond to the changing impacts, to adapt to measures to reduce the spread of the virus, and to ensure its stores remain open and safe for customers and staff.
Outback Stores operates most of the general stores in remote areas of the NT including Beswick, Ngukurr, Dungalan and many others.
"We understand a strong supply chain is vital, now more than ever. As an essential service to more than 40 remote communities around Australia, Outback Stores continues to supply customers with groceries, goods and take-away food," chief executive Michael Borg said.
"Our store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked while ensuring the safety of our staff and customers."
Outback Stores continues to ensure food security and has increased stock monitoring, including a daily store snapshot of sales trends, to ensure consistency of availability and price.
An $800,000 at-cost stock build, to the equivalent of four weeks supply, is being distributed across its stores.
"We also believe our key suppliers are in a solid position and are prioritising remote communities," Mr Borg said.
"There have been increased sales of some items, such as soap and hand sanitiser, but other key products remain in stock and on the shelves. We expect and are prepared for more demand in the near future."
He said Outback Stores was working with governments at various levels around Australia as new border restrictions and arrival requirements are implemented in response to the increasing threat of the virus.
"We want to assure customers that all freight with goods is exempt from these restrictions.
"We also recognise that many Aboriginal people with chronic health problems are at particular risk to COVID-19 and Outback Stores supports the stance of Indigenous land councils, health organisations and leaders to prevent the movement of people in and out of communities.
"To reduce travel in and out of communities, all store managers and staff have been asked to stay in their community and 'stay on country'."
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