Domino's Pizza will no longer offer a free weekly meal to elderly customers during New Zealand's alert level 4 lockdown.
The fast-food franchise yesterday announced its initiative to provide senior citizens over the age of 70 who are within Domino's delivery territory one free meal a week in response to the Government's request for people to stay at home.
However, Unite Union were quick to label the decision as dangerous and "socially irresponsible" while calling on the Government to order all pizza stores and takeaway shops to close to protect the public and staff.
"If pizza is essential, there's not much that isn't essential," Unite Union national secretary Gerard Hehir said.
"What they are proposing is socially irresponsible, a danger to workers and undermines the lockdown."
The Government's Covid-19 information website said essential businesses included those involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people, "but not takeaway shops".
Domino's have announced they would not remain open as planned, following further clarification.
"This week we committed to supporting some of our most vulnerable Kiwis, those over 70. Although we are having to close, as soon as we reopen, we'll continue to serve New Zealand's senior citizens with a hot fresh meal, just as we promised," a Domino's spokesperson said.
"We have been incredibly busy feeding the frontline workers in this crisis and will spend our final hours getting as many pizzas to them as possible to say thank you for their ongoing sacrifice and strength.
"Domino's is proud to be a part of the New Zealand community. We are committed to doing what we can to slow the spread of the virus, and to keep our team members, customers and communities safe."
Domino's will move to temporarily close all New Zealand stores by 8pm tonight.