GOLOCAL

As the country moved from alert level 4 to 3 yesterday, many Whanganui businesses were open for trade again for the first time in nearly five weeks.

And owners are finding innovative ways to operate in a contactless environment.

"This first day has been pretty steady, and definitely busier than the last few weeks," said Sandra Brunner, owner of Health 2000 on Victoria Avenue.

"My partner has filled the doorway with a drawer and a glass pane, so any products can be put in the draw at our side and pushed through to the customer.

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"We can put the eftpos machine on one side of the glass and a customer can hold their card up on the other side.

Sandra Brunner, owner of Health 200 on Victoria Avenue, awaits customers as the country moved to level 3 on Tuesday. Photo / Bevan Conley
Sandra Brunner, owner of Health 200 on Victoria Avenue, awaits customers as the country moved to level 3 on Tuesday. Photo / Bevan Conley

"It's working really well so far."

Co-owner of The Bike Shed in Ridgway St, Nicola Rennie, said the shop was "fully booked up for the rest of the week".

"Things has been a little bit manic, but we're cruising through.

"We have a drop zone at the front of the shop in our entrance way, and customers can leave their bikes there and leave their details with us at the door."

Raj Patel and Janine Chalk of Midtown Motors on Wilson Street Photo Bevan Conley
Raj Patel and Janine Chalk of Midtown Motors on Wilson Street Photo Bevan Conley

Rennie said The Bike Shed was still able to sell bikes and equipment but test rides were not permitted.

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"We can only sell what we have in the store but hopefully stock will start rolling again soon.

"The weather is beautiful and people want to get back out on their bikes."

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Garney Spooner Wool Shop on Guyton St has also reopened but owner Amanda Spooner said they would be adhering to a strict customer limit under alert level 3.

"A lot of our customers are older, or as we like to say, 21 times four," Spooner said.

"We've got a rule of four pre-ordered transactions per half hour, and there are four pick-up boxes outside the shop."

Spooner said she felt "incredibly lucky" to have the support of Whanganui, and that the hardest part of reopening was organising all the orders into time slots.

"We've got a website now, which took about three weeks of the lockdown to get up and running.

Takeaway coffee was back on the cards for many Whanganui cafes yesterday. Photo / Bevan Conley
Takeaway coffee was back on the cards for many Whanganui cafes yesterday. Photo / Bevan Conley

"We're going through orders by who called or emailed first, that way it's fair."

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Spooner said there had been people waiting outside to be allowed into the shop but "for the sake of the customer's safety", no one would be allowed inside.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Raj Patel, the owner of Midtown Motors, said his shop had "a good flow of work coming in".

"We're finding that it's mostly warrants (of fitness) and servicing, so let's see what happens two or three weeks down the track," Patel said.

"All communications are done via phone and we're disinfecting cars when we get them and after we've finished the work on them."

Patel said that they were using a window in the reception office to complete transactions, and a gazebo had been set up outside to keep customers "out of the weather".

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"Giving away money is painful enough already, let alone having to do it in the rain."