The owners of a remote coastal store northwest of Auckland caught up in the latest Covid scare are warning customers to keep away from their business if they don’t intend scanning or signing in.
South Head General Store still remains closed after a 56-year-old Northland woman infected with the highly contagious South African strain spent time in their Parakai shop on January 19 after contracting the virus in managed isolation.
The store was one of 31 premises around Mangawhai, Dargaville, Whangarei and Helensville visited by the woman between January 14-22 after leaving the Pullman hotel managed isolation facility in Auckland.
Despite twice testing negative, she developed symptoms on January 15, getting progressively worse before she returned a positive test on January 22.
The woman has since recovered and is now isolating at home with her husband who is undergoing 14 days of self-isolation.
First results of the woman’s close contacts, initially put at 16 before being revised down to 11, have come back negative.
Describing the past few days as a “living nightmare” the store’s owners say when theyeventually reopen in around 12 days’ time those visiting will be required to keep a record of the visit – or not be allowed to enter.
“When we return you will have two options to be served at our store … Scan in/Sign In or Don’t Come In!” read a post on Facebook.
“If the above upsets anyone or sends us broke by protecting us, families, our community etc then we will be broke but safe.”
One of the owners, Scott, who does not want his last name used, said the past week had proved a living nightmare from the moment health authorities failed to contact them, through to the revelation they had unwittingly been exposed to a mutating virus with no cure and understanding how the Northland woman really contracted it in her isolation hotel.
“We are quite happy with our decision, for the community, our families and our business we love.
“But we’re taking a stand. It will probably send us broke but we’re determined to do it properly.”
He said there was no intention to reopen until both he and co-owner Aaron Watson had completed a 14-day spell of self-isolation, received a second negative test and had deep cleaned the premises.
Health authorities had failed to keep step with the changing aggressive nature of the virus, responding to emergencies in a similar fashion to the original strain.
The owners were critical of how health ministry officials failed to contact them after identifying their business as one of 31 the woman visited during the period she was infected.
Despite this within two minutes of posting on Facebook they were fielding calls from media who had no trouble getting in contact, he said.
He called on those overseeing the operation to step up the way they dealt with businesses, including having a Covid-19 after-hours number that would be answered by a person.
“We’re really upset and disappointed. We worked bloody hard for our business and now it’s probably ruined.”
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