‘Enough for everyone’

The shelves at Countdown Dunedin Central were running low on throat lozenges, painkillers and...
The shelves at Countdown Dunedin Central were running low on throat lozenges, painkillers and tissues on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
The urge to hoard seemed to grip some people in Dunedin as the city settled in for what could be an extended stay at the Red traffic light zone.

When The Star visited Countdown Dunedin Central on Tuesday there was a noticeable lack of throat lozenges, paracetamol, tissues, sugar and flour.

At New World Centre City, there were gaps on the shelves stocking toothpaste, liquid hand soap, and cough and cold medicines.

There were also signs limiting toilet paper products and eggs to two per customer due to increased demand.

The limit was to ensure there was enough to go around, the sign read.

Supermarkets were reinforcing the message to shop normally.

Countdown director of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability Kiri Hannifin said Dunedin stores like many across the country saw a bit more activity than usual following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the whole country was moving to the Red traffic light zone.

"We absolutely appreciate that Kiwis are keen to make sure they have what they need, especially if they have to isolate at home for several days.

"Provided people are not stockpiling and only picking up a couple of extras in their shop, there will continue to be enough available for everyone."

As with previous Covid-19 outbreaks the company had seen a steady demand for toilet paper over the last week.

"We’re prioritising getting essential supplies into our distribution centres and working to get stock out to our stores daily, so toilet paper should remain consistently available for customers."

Foodstuffs corporate affairs manager Emma Wooster said all New World, PAKnSAVE and Four Square stores remained committed to ensuring New Zealanders had their grocery needs met safely.

"Our teams have been actively preparing for Omicron and we have been building our stock levels in anticipation of a move to Red.

"We have enough for everyone as long as we all shop normally, there is no need to stock-up, even if preparing to self-isolate."

All stores had been operating under heightened health and safety protocols, which included increased hygiene and sanitation measures, physical distancing in store, mask use for teams and customers and scanning the QR app.

"These protocols are all in place and designed to look after our teams and customers and provide a safe shopping environment as we continue to navigate this global pandemic."

Gaps on the shelves and queues at the supermarket could be caused by buying more than was needed and stores might place limits on certain items.

"As the Omicron variant is particularly transmissible, we ask customers to be extremely vigilant, making sure their masks are well fitted and worn correctly and to take personal responsibility for ensuring they maintain a 1m physical distance."

—Additional reporting Jessica Wilson.

simon.henderson@thestar.co.nz

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