As New Zealand enters a nation-wide lockdown many businesses will be forced to close. Supermarkets, on the other hand, are open and essential to the communities they service.
While the Government-issued lockdown is in effect, supermarket Countdown will introduce additional measures to ensure the safety of its team, as well as that of the public.
Countdown general manager of health and safety Kiri Hannifin said while some customers will be unsettled by these changes, the business will do all that it can to prevent the further spread of the virus.
In order to do so the business will begin limiting the number of customers in-store at all times. The number will depend on the size of the store, and will be managed by security guards.
“This action means customers can maintain physical distance between each other and our team,” Hannifin explained.
The business will also close every second self-service and manned checkout, to provide further space for customers and team members. Additionally, perspex screens will be installed at checkouts to protect customers and staff from sneezes and coughs.
Further, customers will be required to pack their own groceries for the time being.
“This will help speed up the checkout process and ensure we can move customers through our stores quickly and efficiently, and keep any queues of people outside our stores moving,” Hannifin said.
Finally customers are being asked to pay using paywave wherever possible, in order to cut down on the handling of bank cards and cash.
These changes are in addition to the changes Countdown has already put in place, such as markings providing a physical distance guide for customers at checkouts.
“We’re determined to keep providing New Zealanders with access to our stores, while also making sure we’re providing our team and customers a safe and healthy environment to shop in,” Hannifin said.
Countdown managing director Natalie Davis said on Monday the business would begin prioritizing the delivery of essential products over other, non-essential goods, and repeated calls for shoppers to remain calm.
“There is no need to stock up ad for every extra item you buy, someone else goes without,” Davis said.
“This isn’t fair for other New Zealanders and there’s no need – we will remain open as we always have and there will always be food.”