Rush to supermarkets despite assurances that grocery chains are well stocked

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Buyers are lining up after a case of Covid-19 is confirmed in Auckland.

Ricky Wilson / Stuff

Buyers are lining up after a case of Covid-19 is confirmed in Auckland.

Supermarket shelves are emptying across the country despite assurances that there is no risk of food and other supplies running out at the country’s largest grocery chains.

Buyers lined up and stripped shelves after news was announced that the country would enter Level 4 lockdown following a community case of Covid-19 in Auckland. No link has yet been established with the border or with the MIQ, and the variant of the virus remains to be confirmed.

Toilet paper is proving popular once again with photos from across the country showing people loading and, in one case, cleaning an aisle.

“We remind everyone that all of our stores are open and there is a lot of food and other groceries, so there is no need to buy more than you need”, said Kiri Hannifin, chief health and safety officer of Countdown.

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You could already see lines forming outside of the countdowns across town.

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A statement from Foodstuffs, which operates New World and Pak ‘n Save, said, “Our supermarkets and integrated supply chain are prepared and our stores have a good supply of groceries on the shelves. We again ask customers to shop normally ”.

At the Countdown store in Ponsonby, central Auckland, there were large lines of shoppers. The supermarket chain has also placed its online shoppers in a “virtual queue”.

Empty toilet paper shelves in a Southland supermarket.

Natasha Holland / Stuff

Empty toilet paper shelves in a Southland supermarket.

A police spokesperson said Things the police were preparing to enter supermarkets to handle the growing number of customers.

“We will increase our visibility in these places to reassure both workers and the public,” the spokesperson said.

Police reiterated the advice to stay calm and refrain from panicking buying.

People were lining up with grocery carts after it was announced that a community case of Covid had been located.

Ryan Anderson / Stuff

People lined up with grocery carts after news that a community case of Covid had been located.

Hannifin said Countdown was preparing stores for a change in alert levels.

“We know this is confusing news for everyone, but we are used to shopping safely during alert level changes, and we can do it again,” Hannifin said.

Hannifin asked customers to wear masks when shopping at Countdown stores and to use the NZ Contact Tracer app.

Countdown Ponsonby shoppers stock up on items on Tuesday.

David White / Tips

Countdown Ponsonby shoppers stock up on items on Tuesday.

“At the moment, all of our stores are open and we will have physical distancing measures in place, as well as additional cleaning and hygiene practices in addition to what we normally do,” Hannifin said.

Antoinette Laird, general affairs manager at Foodstuffs, said news of the potential lockdown was troubling, but supermarkets had plenty of food.

Foodstuffs and Countdown have both confirmed they are preparing to change alert levels.

David White / Tips

Foodstuffs and Countdown have both confirmed they are preparing to change alert levels.

“Fortunately, our North Island distribution center has a lot of extra capacity and the team has kept additional volumes of key essential items if it becomes necessary in a case like this,” Laird said. .

She asked customers to be patient while the security measures were in place.

“In the meantime, we encourage everyone to scan the Covid Tracer app and wear masks to protect themselves and our teams,” Laird said.


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