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Woolies to take on extra 20,000 workers

Shoppers are seen outside a Woolworths in Marrickville in Sydney, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. A dedicated shopping hour is underway for seniors and pension card holders who've been disadvantaged by panic buying by the general public in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak (AAP Image/Danny Casey) NO ARCHIVING

Shoppers are seen outside a Woolworths in Marrickville in Sydney, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AAP Image/Danny Casey)

Up to 20,000 jobs are up for grabs as Woolworths takes on workers across Australia to keep up supplies of food and drink during of the coronavirus outbreak.

The roles in its supermarkets, e-commerce, supply chain and drinks businesses are expected to be filled in the next month.

"These are uncertain times for many industries and we have an important role to play keeping Australians employed through this crisis," Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said in a statement on Friday.

"These new roles will not only help us better serve the increase in demand we're seeing in stores right now but also allow us to scale up home delivery operations in the months ahead."

The new jobs will be welcome news for the thousands of Australian, mainly in the hospitality and retail sectors, who were laid off last week.

However, Woolworths said its immediate focus would be to redeploy its ALH workers impacted by this week's mandatory hotel closures.

Some 3000 people have already been placed into new roles across BWS, Dan Murphy's and Woolworths supermarkets.

Woolworths also plans to offer up to 5000 short-term roles to Qantas employees taking leave without pay, including more than 1500 in its distribution centres.

As well, Woolworths has set up a streamlined application process for "thousands" of short-term roles for displaced workers from Village Entertainment, Michael Hill Jewellers, Cotton On, Accor and Super Retail Group.

"We're working with a number of customer-focused businesses impacted by recent government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19," Mr Banducci said.

But Woolworths is also working through thousands of applications already made through its careers website and walk-up applications made in-store.

The vast majority of new roles will be casual in order to provide maximum workforce flexibility to respond to peaks in demand and cover for existing team members who may be unable to work.

© AAP 2020