Retail staff who have no work from home options have hit out at shoppers intent on browsing despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite serious warnings to practice social distancing shoppers are still frequenting malls - and not everyone is happy about it.

"The Government needs to order the temporary closure of non-essential businesses that have face-to-face contact with the public," one retail worker said.

"We have to be there because our employers want to stay in business, but it's putting us at risk."


Another retail worker took to social media, penning an open letter to shoppers:

"Small favour: please stop coming to the mall to feel normal. Normal is over," the woman said.

"Gatherings are over, retail therapy is over. You don't need that top or that gadget."

Shoppers browsing for non-essentials have upset some retail workers who feel at risk. Photo / Getty Images
Shoppers browsing for non-essentials have upset some retail workers who feel at risk. Photo / Getty Images

She said hundreds of retail staff were putting their health at risk "so you can loiter in malls to feel normal.

"Yes, it will hurt businesses, that's obvious, but if the landlords and the corporates get the message they might let us go home and be safe."

The woman said people "catching up for coffee with mates" was putting the people serving at risk.

"We are being told to clean counters and sterilise our hands every 60 minutes for your shopping pleasure, my store has run out of sanitiser, every interaction is tense."

Some teachers also questioned how to manage social distancing with children and full classes and said a shutdown was needed.


"It is impossible to implement social distancing in class when we have children sitting elbow to elbow."

Heart of the City CEO Viv Beck said central businesses were doing what they could to support social distancing.

"We have restaurants who have removed tables to put space between customers and all are well on top with cleaning practices," she said.

"They are informing customers so they feel comfortable."

Some businesses had closed because of the drop in tourists and foot traffic and others were struggling.

But she said there was innovation and businesses were changing to survive.


Restaurants and cafes that had never offered pick-up or delivery had introduced the options to keep staff and customers safe.

"We are seeing a lot of business owners think differently about how they offer services."

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Beck said the Heart of the City's role had changed from promoting Auckland businesses to supporting them.

"We are making sure they understand the information and support available," she said.