COVID-19: Kmart CEO announces unvaccinated customers banned from NSW stores, following new government regulations

As Sydney reopens after weeks of lockdown, Kmart CEO John Gualtieri has announced unvaccinated shoppers will not be permitted inside NSW stores without a medical exemption. 

In an email to customers published by 7 News, Gualtieri said the department store is committed to creating a "safe, seamless and convenient" shopping experience for customers vaccinated against COVID-19. 

"As per the NSW Government requirement, customers will need to show proof that they are fully COVID-19 vaccinated unless a medical exemption applies," he wrote.

"We want you to know that we're committed to beating these Delta Blues together.

"We ask for your patience and support as we roll this new process out across our store network." 

A Kmart spokesperson told Newshub such measures would only be put in place in New Zealand if also stipulated by the Government.  

"Following New South Wales Government requirements, all customers are required to show proof of full vaccination status or a medical exemption," they said. 

"We will continue to follow government requirements in the states and countries we operate in."

Social media users posted images of the long queues at Sydney stores.
Social media users posted images of the long queues at Sydney stores. Photo credit: Lara_Hawwash/TikTok via. 7 News.

Jacinda Ardern's Government recently announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for large-scale public events will be introduced this summer, but rules for retail outlets have not yet been finalised.

Gualtieri's stipulations came alongside NSW's 'Freedom Day' on Monday, which saw a number of restrictions relaxed for the fully vaccinated across the state. 

While density caps were put in place, vaccinated residents were allowed visits to other households and access to restaurants, retail stores, cinemas and gyms. 

But according to 7 News, it lead to "chaos" at Kmart stores as shoppers rushed to fill their trollies with toys, clothing and homewares. 

According to a social media screenshot, one queue to get inside a store snaked 50m from the entrance.

Shoppers also confirmed to the news outlet that staff were checking their vaccination status at the door.