Covid-19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Supermarkets cut hours after two Waikato Covid cases

Store trading hours at a number of Waikato Countdowns will be reduced to 8am-9pm from tomorrow, following the change to alert level 3 for parts of the region from 11.59pm tonight.

The store hours will change at Countdowns Huntly, Bridge St, Te Rapa, Rototuna, Claudelands, Chartwell, St James, Hamilton, Dinsdale and Nawton. Each of the 10 impacted stores will open at 8am from tomorrow morning, and close at 9pm, until further notice.

Countdown’s general manager, corporate affairs, safety and sustainability Kiri Hannifin says the reduced hours will give teams extra time to prepare the stores.

“With changes to the alert levels, our stores often see increased demand. By reducing our trading hours and giving our teams a little more time to restock the shelves, we can ensure the products our customers need are available on the shelf when they do their shopping.

“We’re working across our supply chain to make sure there is plenty of stock heading into our Waikato stores. We’d ask customers to continue to only buy what they need – there is plenty of product available for everyone if we all just shop like we normally do.”

Countdown is also reminding customers to continue to do everything they can to keep themselves and other shoppers safe.

“All of our health and safety measures remain in place and our customers are doing a great job by only sending one shopper per bubble, wearing their masks and checking in using the Covid tracer app whenever they visit our stores. We’d really appreciate it if they could keep up the good work and continue to treat our team and other shoppers with kindness and respect.”

Hamilton, Raglan and several other Waikato towns will move to alert level 3 from 11.59pm tonight after the discovery of two Delta cases, and the spread of the virus beyond Auckland’s borders.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the alert-level elevation at a hastily arranged 1pm press conference following the discovery of the two cases in Raglan and Hamilton East. Both people are known to each other – but there is yet to be an established link to the Auckland outbreak.

As 33 new cases in total were announced today, Ardern said level 3 would be imposed from 11.59pm in Raglan, Te Kauwhata, Ngaruawahia, Hamilton city and Huntly. The alert level would be reviewed in five days.

Hamilton will have spot checks around the boundary areas but it wouldn’t be like Auckland’s hard boundary for practical reasons, said Ardern. There were too many feeder roads into the Hamilton area, she said.

Ardern asked people to comply with the restrictions and to work from home if they could.

The level-3 restrictions will apply for an initial five days while wide contact tracing, testing and wastewater testing takes place. Anyone with symptoms should get tested.

Auckland’s boundary remained in place, said Ardern. Cabinet meets tomorrow to decide the future of level 3 but experts such as Michael Baker say it’s highly unlikely the region will move out of level 3 this week, based on the Waikato cases.

Ardern emphasised that a move back to level 4 was not being considered.

Ardern said tomorrow’s announcements around Auckland would not apply to Hamilton as they were separate outbreaks. The road map forward would be outlined tomorrow, particularly for Auckland.

The decision to put Huntly, Te Kauwhata and Ngaruawahia into level 3 was made because people were transiting through there on the way to Hamilton. If they had been left in level 2, Ardern suspected they would have put themselves into level-3 restrictions anyway.

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