Shortly after the announcement from government that New Zealand is to return to Alert Level 4 from midnight 17 August, the Foodstuffs team has issued the following statement.

Our supermarkets and integrated supply chain are prepared, and our stores have a good supply of groceries on the shelves. We are again asking customers to shop normal and let’s help each other get through this in a way that’s respectful to all New Zealanders.

Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our customers and teams during this time.  Our teams are preparing to move alert levels from 11:59 on 17 August and we ask customers to be patient as we roll out and all get used to the various safety precautions required to keep everyone safe.   

In the meantime, we encourage everyone nationwide to always scan the COVID tracer app, wear a mask when shopping, nominate one person in the household to shop and ask a friend or neighbour to shop on your behalf if you aren’t feeling well. As per previous Alert Level 4s, customers at our supermarkets will see some staff protection measures returning to their local store, including perspex protective screens at checkout, floor decals communicating the appropriate 2m physical distancing length, staff wearing masks and to maintain the social distancing measures, we will be limiting the number of customers in store at any one time. 

While we wait for the result of the genome testing of the positive case, we are, like government, assuming the positive community case is the Delta variant, which is known to be a more transmissible strain of COVID-19 – and we ask all customers to please comply with store signage and staff direction to maintain physical distancing.

Wear face masks

Advice from the Ministry of Health makes it mandatory from 11.50pm on 18th August for all staff and customers aged 12 years and over to wear masks or face coverings in-store while we are in Alert Level 4. Our advice is #maskupNZ it’s the best way to keep yourself, your family and our teams safe.

It is a government requirement that our staff and customers wear a face covering while in-store and our teams will be managing this on entry into store. At Alert Level 4 stores are required to manage the number of people in store at any one time so asking customers to wear a face covering on entry will simply be another action they will employ. In order to meet our legal requirements, we will not be able to allow people in-store if they are not wearing a face covering. Should a customer refuse to wear a face covering and not fall within an exemption then we would encourage them to try our online offering.

At Alert Level 4 there is naturally some impact to how our stores will deliver for our customers and we ask our customers to: 

•       Scan the COVID-19 QR codes – download the NZ COVID-19 Tracer App and scan the QR Code at stores to enable quick contact tracing if needed and turn on Bluetooth tracking. 

•       Please nominate a single family or household member to shop – to comply with physical distancing recommendations, and to ensure there is a steady flow of traffic in and out of stores within our ‘one in, one out’ system, we are asking New Zealanders who shop in person to please shop alone. This is to ensure the number of people in-store at any one time is kept to a minimum – by leaving your loved ones at home you are helping to keep them safe.  

•       Wear masks when you leave home and while shopping  – in line with Government’s direction, please leave home with a mask and we strongly encourage all customers to wear face masks when visiting our stores.

•       #shopnormal – we continue to ask customers to not stockpile; this is so everyone has a fair shot at buying their grocery essentials. Please only buy what you need and be fair to others. We have plenty of stock, and to ensure there is plenty of product to go around, product limitations will be put in place on a store or product basis if the individual store determines there is a need.

•       Utilise contactless payments – we encourage customers to use contactless payments such as payWave as another way of reducing contact between customers and staff. Help us keep you safe. 

•       Shop online (where available) – we have contactless online shopping delivery for customers who are self-isolating, vulnerable or unwell – we ask customers simply to let the team know in the comments section when the order is placed. We also ask customers who are feeling unwell to please not come to the store to collect their Click & Collect order and to instead arrange a friend or family member to pick up your groceries for you. 

•       Respect each other– we are asking New Zealand to again support us as we work hard to continue meeting our goal of ensuring everyone has access to grocery essentials. We ask that all customers please remain patient and considerate of each other and staff during this time.

•       Lastly, we would like to extend a warm thank you to our teams for, once again, stepping up and putting New Zealand’s needs ahead of their own.

We’ve done this before New Zealand – we can do this again. We’re in it together so let’s support each other as we come together in the fight against COVID-19 again. 

Bonus for essential employees during latest Level 4 lockdown

The Foodstuffs Co-operatives, Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island, have confirmed all essential front-line, distribution and a few other key employees nationwide will, once again, receive a 10% bonus to their hours worked while in Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Chris Quin, CEO, Foodstuffs North Island says, “We’re extremely proud and appreciative of how our teams have jumped straight back into Level 4 mode, operating during these times can be extremely difficult. Providing the 10% bonus during Level 4 is the right thing to do for our essential workers – it’s a positive way we can show our gratitude for the critical work they’re providing right now to keep everyone safe and keep stock on shelves. Our number one priority is to look after our teams and supporting them during these challenging times is critically important. We are also working to increase staff access to vaccines.”

Steve Anderson, CEO, Foodstuffs South Island adds, “We recognise the closure of education and childcare facilities is an additional challenge for some of our essential team members and we are working closely with these individuals to make special arrangements. As we enter Alert Level 4 across the country we are once again asking customers to #shopnormal, be kind to our teams, look after each other and help New Zealand get through this quickly together. We’ve done this before – by pulling together we are confident we can do this again.”

Every front-line and distribution centre employee working through the Alert Level 4 lockdown will receive the bonus each pay cycle for the days worked during the current Alert Level 4 lockdown. Foodstuffs defines front-line and distribution centre employees as the following: staff across all Foodstuffs retail stores nationwide (New World, PAK’nSAVE, Four Square, Gilmours, Trents, Raeward Fresh), distribution centres and a small number of other impacted employees.

Vaccinations for essential workers

Antoinette Laird, Head of Corporate Affairs at Foodstuffs NZ told FMCG Business: “Foodstuffs welcomes the news that the Ministry of Health has introduced a new category and priority for vaccinations for essential workers. Looking after our people and customers is a top priority for us and we want to do all we can to protect them and each other as we get through this together. Making it quicker and easier for our team members to get a vaccine is the right thing to do and we fully support this opportunity for our essential teams. We have also recently been given the go ahead from government to set up vaccination centres for our teams and we’re looking forward to getting these underway as soon as possible.”

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