COUNTDOWN UPDATE | From Natalie Davis, Countdown Managing Director.

"Countdown supports the government’s decision to move to alert level four on Wednesday, and we want to assure our customers that our supermarkets will remain open right through these challenging times.

We are a proud food-producing nation and all New Zealanders can be assured that there is no risk to the food supply.  We’re working closely with all our supplier partners and feeding the local market is collectively our first priority.

We are prioritising essential products to get into our stores over other, non-essential products. We have every truck on the road possible, and every team member possible working to support our stores and online services.

We repeat our earlier calls to please not panic, and to shop normally.  There is no need to stock up and for every extra item you buy, someone else goes without.  When customers stockpile and buy more than they need, it creates a bottleneck in the supply chain that takes time to work through and leaves gaps on the shelves.  This isn’t fair for other New Zealanders and there’s no need - we will remain open as we always have and there will always be food.

Our stores will be open each day and we will be putting in place every possible measure to help keep our customers, team and the wider community safe. This means people will see some changes in our stores.

Customers should use their trolley as a distance guide and follow new floor markings, which will be in place from midday tomorrow, at checkouts to maintain distance. We’ll also be putting up posters across the store to provide our customers and teams helpful tips to minimise physical contact with others.

Other recommendations include using Paywave where possible and maintaining strict hand-washing routines prior to coming into our stores.  We will also continue our strict hygiene processes and cleaning in stores.

We are working on ways to ensure that older and vulnerable customers can get the help they need.  We are currently prioritising online delivery windows for existing online shopping customers over 70, and are working hard to expand this to other vulnerable customers who need this service for health reasons or because they are unable to get into our stores.

Our team is continuing to put amazing energy and effort into providing food and groceries for New Zealanders right across the country, and they’re working incredibly hard under difficult circumstances.  Please continue to be kind to them. We thank our customers for their ongoing patience and support as we work through these challenging times together. We’ve had some wonderful feedback and acts of kindness in our stores and we are incredibly appreciative of your support."

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