The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price is climbing today, currently up 0.53% to $39.68.
Investors in the ASX retail giant appear unfazed by the prospect that Woolies may need to stump up the funds for private security guards to enforce COVID-19 compliance in the stores.
For comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is also up slightly, by 0.19%, to 7,517 points.
Where COVID is spreading
As most Aussies were sleeping last night, 28 new grocery stores were added to the New South Wales coronavirus exposure sites list.
And that, as news.com reports, isn’t sitting well with NSW Police Minister David Elliott.
This morning, speaking on Nine’s breakfast show Today, Elliot told host Karl Stefanovic supermarkets have an “obligation” to ensure their customers are signing in and using the QR codes:
The health orders say you need to take reasonable action to ensure you’re complying. How are we supposed to contact those people that attended that supermarket (that has been exposed) unless we have the tracing?”
Accepting that regular instore staff might not be in a position to refuse entry to unruly customers, Elliot said supermarkets should hire their own private bouncers to ensure compliance:
If you believe your staff would be at risk, then spend the extra money and get security personnel put on the door. We’re not doing it to dish out penalties; we are not doing it to scare people.
This is an action that the public health orders have said will allow us to contact anybody that has been in a supermarket when it’s been exposed. Supermarkets are no different to every other business; just comply with the regulations and you’ve got a responsibility.
Adding round-the-clock security in the stores will certainly add to operating expenses. But judging by the Woolworths share price moves today, that expense isn’t likely to scare investors away from the stock.
Woolworths share price snapshot
Over the past 12 months, the Woolworths share price is up by 19%, compared to a gain of 25% posted by the ASX 200. Year-to-date, Woolworths shares have outperformed that benchmark, up by 17%.
Woolies also pays a 2.6% dividend yield, fully franked.