Supermarkets giving essential workers priority

Essential workers will receive priority treatment at supermarkets. File Images: SunLive.

Supermarkets around the country are ensuring essential workers get priority treatment when shopping.

Pak’nSave and New World are offering emergency services and medical personnel priority at the checkouts, as well as in any queues outside stores.

At all of their stores nationwide anyone who works in the military, civil defence, police, Fire and Emergency, ambulance, and medical professionals, including district health board staff, doctors and nurses will get precedence.

From Thursday, Countdown stores will open at 8am to provide a shopping hour each day for uniformed emergency services and any DHB, medical centre or medical professional carrying proper identification before the stores open to the public.

"Our emergency and medical services are continuing to go above and beyond for New Zealanders as they work to keep our communities safe. We want to show our deep appreciation to them during this very challenging time by helping ensure they can get groceries for themselves and their families,” says Countdown’s health and safety general manager Kiri Hannifin.

“We hope that we can take a little bit of pressure off their week and make sure that when they get home after working long hours they will have the essential supplies they need.”

Posts on the New World and Pak’nSave Facebook pages say, “We're prioritising our emergency services and medical personnel as they are making an incredible commitment to keep us safe as we unite to fight against COVID-19.

“We’re proud to be prioritising these individuals and want to do our bit to make their lives easier when we know they are working long and stressful hours. We are incredibly grateful for their service.

“This means any professional wearing their uniform or carrying DHB, medical centre or proper identification will be given priority to enter the store and to go through the checkout line first.”

Countdown is also offering a priority assistance service for online deliveries to people deemed by the government to be most at risk of COVID-19.

“The advice we continue to receive from the Ministry of Health is that people who are 70 years old or older, who are immune-compromised or have chronic illnesses should stay at home. We want to help make that possible by giving those people priority access to our online delivery,” says Kiri.

“We’ve already approved more than 16,000 people for Priority Assistance since it launched last Wednesday but we are experiencing incredible demand for our online shopping service with close to 100,000 customers registering last week. We’d encourage everyone who is physically able to shop in our stores to do so, so we can keep as many delivery slots as possible for those who need them most and cannot go to a supermarket.”

Countdown is extending their limits on a range of products to ensure customers don’t have to visit stores too regularly.

There are no limits on meat, produce, deli, seafood and Easter products.

A limit of four on beer, wine and any bakery goods not made in store.

A limit of two will still apply to products where they are seeing increased demand, those items are:


Rice - Bags

Dry Pasta

Canned baked beans & spaghetti

UHT Milk

Frozen Vegetables

Toilet Paper

Paper Towels

Personal Wash

Hand Sanitiser


Household Cleaner

Feminine Hygiene

Baby Formula

All other items in store will have a limit of six.


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