Countdown stores change opening hours

The use of face masks is mandatory for all employees and customers at businesses and services that are open to the public.

Countdown has announced nationwide store trading hour changes, some temporary Auckland store closures, and a ten per cent bonus for its frontline team as the country enters its fourth day at Alert Level four today.

From today, Saturday, August 21, 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. These are Countdown Lynfield (8am-6pm), Takapuna (8am-6pm), Lincoln Road (9am-6pm) and Botany (9am-6pm). Countdown Birkenhead will remain closed until August 31 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 August 22 to allow team from these locations to provide support in other larger stores that are seeing increased demand since the lockdown began.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability Kiri Hannifin says while the store closures will be frustrating for some customers, it’s a reality of the environment that many essential services are operating in.

“A number of our stores are locations of interest and our team are isolating, which we absolutely support,” says Kiri. “At the same time, we’re looking at how we can best allocate our team across our stores to ensure we’re also keeping our communities fed.

“This may mean further stores close or reduce their hours as all our teams pull together to help out.”

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 ten per cent more per hour worked at Alert Level 4.

“Since COVID-19 first hit last year, our team has proven time and time again just how essential they are. As well as paying our frontline teams more, we’re also supporting any of our team members whom the government has deemed high risk, including those over 70, immune-deficient and those with serious chronic illness, so they can stay home and not worry about work.

“We’re continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health and local DHBs as well to roll-out the vaccine to our team as quickly and safely as possible,” says Kiri.

Countdown as locations of interest
Six Countdown stores have been visited by someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. These stores 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

“As a precaution, deep cleans were 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,” says Kiri.

“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. The exception is Lynfield where our team who worked on 4 August are not required to isolate unless they have or have had symptoms in the past two weeks. If they have symptoms then they are required to be tested.”

The team who worked on August 15 are home isolating for 14 days.

“At the moment our Botany, Birkenhead and Glenfield stores are all currently closed. Due to the number of team members impacted at Birkenhead, this store will not re-open until Tuesday August 31. We’re doing the best we can to manage not only the demand from customers but also a rapidly-changing situation in terms of locations of interest.

“Obviously this is very unsettling for our teams right across New Zealand. We’re continuing to focus on our safety procedures which are designed to keep our team and communities safe, and remind customers to maintain physical distancing, wear masks and to scan in when shopping with us,” says Kiri.

Face masks at Alert Level 4
The Ministry of Health advises that while at Alert Level 4 the use of face coverings is mandatory for all employees and customers at businesses and services that are open to the public. This includes supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Face coverings remain mandatory on public transport and at departure points, e.g., train stations, flights and bus stops; and in taxi or ride-share vehicles (drivers and passengers).

Current exemptions for face coverings include for people aged under 12 or with illness, conditions or disabilities that make wearing them unsuitable.

It is important to continue to also practise basic hygiene measures such as keep your distance (2 metres in public) from other people, clean your hands often, sneeze and cough into your elbow, and keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen – ideally using the NZ COVID Tracer App).

It is highly recommended that you wear a mask or face covering in closed spaces where physical distancing is not always possible and contact with other people outside your bubble may occur.

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