Mr Stokes said the move would ensure the community would have access to food, medical supplies and essential household goods whenever they needed it.
“Stores will also be able to dispose of their waste at any time of day, rather than during restricted hours, to dispose of the significant and sudden increase in stock,” Mr Stokes said.
The minister said the order also provided greater flexibility for home-based businesses to operate at any time and expand their business as necessary.
“For those businesses operating out of home, we are facilitating more flexible operating hours and increasing the number of people working together from two to five, providing they can abide by the social distancing rules,” Mr Stokes said.
“This is important as more and more people work from home and need flexible working arrangements.”
Supermarkets have undergone a sea of changes in the past few weeks as customers have swarmed to buy products, most notably toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, pasta and canned foods.
The rise in demanded prompted both Coles and Woolworths to introduce an elderly-only hour to start the day.
And the dropping of nighttime curfews for delivery trucks has allowed supermarkets to restock overnight, boosting supply.
Coles said the more flexible trading hours were welcome, even though it has reduced its trading hours to allow staff to clean and restock.
“Last week Coles reduced trading hours nationally to give our team members the time and space to extensively clean our stores and replenish the shelves for customers the next day. In particular this ensures cleanliness for our elderly and vulnerable customers attending our Community Hour in the first hour of trade.
“We appreciate the flexibility around trading hours and thank the federal, state and local governments for their rapid action to help us continue to serve customers during these challenging times.”
Woolworths has been contacted for comment.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.