Long queues ahead of Good Friday closure

A long queue stretches out of Pak 'n Save in Dunedin and along Hillside Rd at lunchtime. PHOTO:...
A long queue stretches out of Pak 'n Save in Dunedin and along Hillside Rd at lunchtime. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Supermarket queues appeared to be extra long today, as stores across the country prepared to close for Good Friday tomorrow.

At Pak'n'Save in Dunedin, the spaced-out queue stretched across the front of the store, along Hillside Rd and back to the Mayfair Theatre on King Edward St at 12.30pm.

Queues were apparent at grocery stores yesterday, and most city supermarkets appear to have longer queues today - one of the shorter ones was 50 people waiting outside the Countdown at the eastern end of Andersons Bay Rd.

The New Zealand Herald is reporting exceptionally large queues around Auckland.

Since the level 4 lockdown came into effect at 11.59pm on March 25, supermarket queues have typically started out long each morning but become shorter over the course of the day.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last month that supermarkets would be closed on Good Friday but could open on Easter Sunday amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The decision on Easter trading was made by the Covid-19 committee, based on the need for staff to rest and for supermarkets to restock, while recognising people needed access to essential food. They also wanted to ensure people didn't panic buy.

Any employee who objected to working on Easter Sunday would not have to work, Ardern said.

A Countdown spokeswoman said customers were encouraged to keep shopping normally and not stock up, as that would put further pressure on the supply chain.

All stores would be closed on Good Friday but most would be open on Easter Sunday from 9am - 4pm. However, alcohol would not be available for purchase, she said.

There was plenty of Easter stock in stores, and Countdown was working with confectionery giant Mondelez - maker of Cadbury chocolate - to get more.

Supermarkets have been encouraging physical distancing by limiting the number of people allowed in store at a time and marking floors at checkouts and deli counters to remind people to stay two metres away from each other.

Some New Worlds are also directing customers to leave reusable bags in the car rather than packing them at checkouts, to speed up movement through the store. 

Comments

"Countdown was working with confectionery giant Mondelez - maker of Cadbury chocolate - to get more", I am surprised at this, after what that company did to Dunedin I would have thought countdown would be buying local chocolate, I am also surprised people who still buy cadbury, they have short memories.

Herd mentality heard the shop was shut for a day. I am gob smacked and genuinely surprised that we would line up around the block for a one day closure. On no other Good Friday eve would we do this. Is this a placebo survival reaction, or is it that we have nowhere else to shop? Either way. if my meagre finances permit, instead of chips and chocolate, I'll be buying shares in Foodstuffs........I feel like we're becoming a 'social experiment', and a very willing one at that! Cutting your lawns with scissors is far more productive!

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