Supermarkets are hit by strong demand for home deliveries and click and collect services as the number of close contacts required to self-isolate increases.
After just six days, the Ministry of Health identified 10,000 Kiwis who may have come into contact with a positive case of Covid-19.
But some people who self-isolate after crossing paths with a confirmed case may find it difficult to shop because home delivery and supermarket home delivery slots are reserved in many stores.
Jo Davies is self-isolating at her home on the Auckland North Coast and worries about self-isolated people who have no one to do their shopping for them.
* Rush to supermarkets despite assurances that grocery chains are well stocked
* Foodstuffs strengthens its online shopping service on the South Island
* Coronavirus: Auckland Countdown store closed after visiting Covid-19 patient
âI am in close contact with one of the Auckland cases and isolate myself at home with my elementary age boys,â she said.
âWe have health issues, so I’m already a priority customer for deliveries with Countdown. However, there is no delivery or pickup time available anywhere near my home on the North Shore.
âI’m lucky. A friend was able to do a great shop for me. But what about the thousands of other close contacts who should self-isolate? How many of them are in a situation where they should go to do their shopping? â
Dr Ashley Bloomfield announces 21 new cases of covid-19 in the community, all but one in Auckland.
âI sincerely fear that will happen,â Davies said.
According to advice from the Ministry of Health, anyone who has been in close contact with a known case should self-isolate for at least 14 days.
âIf possible, have your friends or family do some shopping for you,â the ministry says to those in isolation.
âIf that’s not possible, order supplies online. Make sure all deliveries are left outside your home so you can pick them up, âhe says.
But the two big supermarket chains have come under fire with orders.
The Countdown website tells customers, âAll of our delivery times are full for the next few days. Come back tomorrow or buy in store if you can.
“Our customer service team does not have access to overtime, so avoid a long wait and don’t call to ask.”
And a similar message appears when a customer seeks to book a pickup slot.
Davies said pickups would be a good option for self-isolated families who had someone from another household who could go to the supermarket for them.
This is because click and collect services allowed people to select and pay for their groceries online, so their assistant only had to collect their purchases from a click and collect locker and then drop them off.
Kiri Hannifin, Managing Director of Corporate Affairs, Security and Sustainability at Countdown, said: Especially our priority support customers and those who need to stay at home and isolate themselves.
âThis includes a lot of our team in some areas,â she said.
âOur stores have strong health and safety measures in place to ensure the safety of our team and our customers and our strong advice is that anyone who can should shop in-store. This will ensure that we can free up online shopping slots for anyone who needs it. “
Countdown’s rival New World, which is owned by Foodstuffs, was also in high demand.
Its Mount Roskill store in Auckland had click and collect slots for the next few days booked as far as its system would allow shoppers to look.
Other Auckland stores, including its New Lynn, Victoria Park and Birkenhead stores, were also full for the days listed on the online reservation system.
Antoinette Laird, Head of Corporate Affairs at Foodstuffs, said: âFor customers who cannot come to our stores, we encourage them to ask a friend or neighbor to do their shopping.
âNew World offers online delivery to the North Island and offers priority support to help customers who are vulnerable and need help securing an online order for delivery, or click and collect. The number to call is 0800 363 977.
Laird said New World has partnered with the Student Volunteer Army, which is currently delivering groceries to anyone in need in Auckland.