“As of today we have just over 1000 of our team members isolating across Auckland and Wellington because their store is a location of interest, because they have a family member who has been impacted by a location of interest, or because they don’t have childcare available or are vulnerable to COVID-19,” says Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability.
“We’re expecting this number will continue to increase, and we’re managing this as best as we can. The safety of our team and customers is our top priority.
“Currently our Birkenhead, Albert Street Metro, Hauraki Corner, Mangere Mall and Halsey Street Metro stores are all temporarily closed due to low team numbers and ensuring we have team members across as many other stores as we can. Any of our stores which are locations of interest will close for deep cleaning, and re-open as soon as possible. We’re trying to keep customers and our website updated in real time as much as we can, but things are moving very fast.
“Our online shopping service is seeing a lot of demand at the moment and we are working incredibly hard to make sure we have slots available for people who need it – especially our Priority Assistance customers and those who are having to stay home and isolate. Anyone who can shop in-store should do so to help free up online shopping slots for other people who cannot go to supermarkets.
“Over the weekend customers will have seen gaps on the shelf and particularly in meat. There is plenty of food, meat and groceries to go around – we had a technical issue in the weekend with meat ordering in the North Island but this is now fixed and meat is on its way to stores everywhere. Our supply chain is looking in good shape this morning.
Countdown locations of interest
As of 10am 23 August, 16 of our stores have been visited by someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Stores identified today are as below, and these stores will close while we undertake deep cleaning:
- Countdown Manurewa – visited on Monday 16 August at 12:00pm – 12:30pm
Previously identified Countdown locations of interest are:
- Countdown Lincoln Road – visited on Wednesday, 11 August at 2.56pm – 3.30pm
- Countdown Glenfield – visited on Saturday, 14 August at 5pm – 5.15pm and Sunday, 15 August 2021.
- Countdown Lynfield – visited on Wednesday, 4 August at 2.45pm – 3.05pm and Sunday, 15 August at 8pm – 8.15pm
- Countdown Takapuna – visited on Sunday, 15 August at 3.20pm – 3.30pm
- Countdown Birkenhead – visited on Friday, 13 August at 6:00pm – 6:30pm and visited twice on Monday, 16 August. The first visit was at 7.00am – 7.15am and the second visit was at 12.30pm – 12.45pm.
- Countdown Botany Downs – visited on Tuesday 17 August between 10.20am and 10.30 am
- Countdown Newtown – visited on Friday 20 August between 8.05 am – 9.45 am
- Countdown Johnsonville – visited on Wednesday 18 August between 4.30 pm – 5.00 pm
- Countdown Manukau – visited on Thursday 19 August between 4.53 pm – 5.30 pm
- Countdown Mangere East – visited on Friday 20 August between 10.50 am – 10.55 am
- Countdown Greenlane – visited on Tuesday 17 August between 8:27 pm – 8:50 pm
- Countdown Victoria Street West – visited on Sunday 15 August between 2.30 pm – 3.15 pm
- Countdown Grey Lynn – visited on Tuesday the 17 August – 6.52 pm to 7.15 as well as Wednesday the 18 August 4.45 pm to 5.30 pm
- Countdown Westgate – visited Monday 16 August between 5pm – 6pm
- Countdown Takanini – visited Thursday 19 August between 7am – 7:10am
“As a precaution, deep cleans have been undertaken in each of these stores in addition to the thorough cleaning that is undertaken during each day, which has been further increased following the recent alert level change. Any team members who were working during the time of the visits have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days and be tested three times as per the guidance we have received from Auckland Public Health,” says Hannifin.
Store hours change, bonus payment announced
Countdown also announced nationwide store trading hour changes, and a 10% bonus for its frontline team as the country remains at Alert Level four.
From Saturday, 21 August, trading hours across Countdown stores nationwide will change to 8am to 9pm, to help give teams time to restock shelves and meet the high levels of demand being seen across the network. Four Auckland stores will further reduce their trading hours due to having team members isolating after COVID-19 positive visits to those stores: Countdown Lynfield (8am-6pm), Takapuna (8am-6pm), Lincoln Road (9am-6pm) and Botany (9am-6pm). Countdown Birkenhead will remain closed until 31 August due to having team members isolating from across several different shifts.
Countdown’s central Auckland Metro stores in Albert Street and Halsey Street will also temporarily close from Sunday, 22 August to allow team from these locations to provide support in other larger stores that are seeing increased demand since the lockdown began.
Countdown has also announced it will pay an Alert Level 4 lockdown bonus to its waged permanent part-time and full-time, fixed term and casual team members in its supermarkets, meat plant, customer care team and supply chain, in recognition of the essential role they are playing in keeping Kiwis safe and fed. The bonus will be the equivalent of an additional 10% more per hour worked at Alert Level 4.