Retailers respond to scrapping of mask-wearing rule in NZ

(Source: Foodstuffs)

Mask-wearing rule in New Zealand has been removed with vaccine mandates to be ditched later this month, as the country revised its pandemic approach. 

For retailers, that means staff and customers are no longer required to wear face masks. And Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said employers will now decide whether or not they require their workforce to be vaccinated.

“For the first time in two years we can approach summer with the much-needed certainty New Zealanders and business need, helping to drive greater economic activity critical to our economic recovery,” Ardern said in a weekly news conference.

Under the new rules, Covid-19 positive individuals are still required to isolate for seven days. 

“The retail sector has been calling for the revision of Covid-19 restrictions, and removal of mandatory mask requirements due to significantly low compliance from the public and high levels of instore aggression, violence and anti-social behaviour,” said Greg Harford, CEO of Retail NZ. 

“The revision today largely brings New Zealand in line with most of the rest of the world.”

However, Harford added the government should consider reviewing the isolation period within the next four weeks.

“Other countries have a far more dynamic approach of review and continue to revise isolation periods with most between three to five days as best practice.”

Meanwhile, Foodstuffs North Island MD Chris Quin said it will be a relief for staff and customers to take off their masks in supermarkets. 

“Masks have been very important through the pandemic, but they won’t be missed now they’ve done their job,” said Quin. 

“Our front-line teams will be happy to take off their masks to work more freely every day. They’ve been hot and hard to work in and everyone will be excited to be able to connect with customers again, without the barrier of a mask in the way”.  

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