Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Customers flood Auckland shops on the first day of reopening

Shoppers flooded Auckland stores on the first day of reopening since the lockdown started in mid-August, with some retailers even extending their trading hours.

Retail New Zealand chief executive Greg Harford said many retail stores in Auckland had been busier than what they had expected – reflecting a positive confidence level of people to go out.

“I’m hearing that things are pretty busy – perhaps more so than we had expected.

“That’s good news because it means Aucklanders are feeling confident about being able to get out and shop safely.

“I’m really asking everyone who’s hitting the shops to make sure that they keep everyone safe by wearing a mask, and staying two metres away from other people in-store,” Harford said.

The Government on Monday confirmed its stance issued last week that Auckland move to level 3, step 2 at midnight on Tuesday. That meant from today retail shops can open with distancing and masks, and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed.

Public facilities including libraries, museums and the zoo are also up and running again, but restaurants and bars must remain closed, except for take-out orders.

Food courts inside shopping malls are able to reopen but must continue to offer contactless pick-up or delivery options only. Shoppers will not be able to consume food or drink while shopping inside a mall.

The Warehouse Group chief customer officer Jonathan Waecker said all of the Warehouse stores in Auckland have opened for extended hours from today, all the way through to Christmas.

“Most of our stores across Auckland will open from 8am till midnight from today … with some of our smaller stores open until 10pm.

“For customers interested in online shopping options, we continue to offer Noel Leeming’s 1-hour and The Warehouse’s same-day click and collect services,” Waecker said.

The listed retailer said the business was also prepared with plenty of stock ready for Black Friday, Christmas and the summer season ahead.

Waecker said all stores had safety measures in place to adhere to Covid restrictions.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said there had been an increase in today’s foot traffic with businesses reporting steady trade.

“The city centre is open for business, with a 34 per cent increase in foot traffic so far since yesterday.

“I’ve seen people out and about with shopping bags and some businesses are reporting steady trade. This is a good start to what we hope will be a great run to Christmas,” Beck said.

Clothing retailer Hallenstein Glassons chief executive Stuart Duncan said he had also seen a steady increase in customers since opening this morning.

Homeware and sporting goods retailer Briscoe Group chief executive Rod Duke said it was a very good first day and the reopening had met their high expectations.

“We had an expectance that was met, and our expectance was very high,” he said.

The retail chain, which operates Briscoes and Rebel Sports stores across the country, will have normal opening hours for November. The hours of trading depend on the locations the stores are in, Duke said.

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