"The floor is lava".

Customers venturing into Unichem Waipukurau Pharmacy are being treated to a cheerful message with a serious application.

Squares on the floor announce "the floor is lava" - a reference to a children's game where you can't walk on the floor ... and a request to "please stand here".

The squares are places 1.5m apart - the recommended space for physical distancing to slow the spread of Covid-19.

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The floor is lava ... squares on the floor show where it is safe to stand according to social distancing guidelines.
The floor is lava ... squares on the floor show where it is safe to stand according to social distancing guidelines.

"It was to provide guidelines to make it easier," says pharmacy owner, pharmacist Charles Nairn.

"Social distancing is really, really important. It can significantly reduce the rate of infection and if we can do that successfully the health system can keep up. If the health system is overwhelmed it will be catastrophic."


Online, a Facebook page has been established to offer or request support for those directly affected by the Covid-19 virus.

The page, Central Hawke's Bay Covid-19 Support, was set up late last week and has rapidly grown to more that 700 members, almost all offering help and support to those isolated by the risk of Covid-19.

The page also shares updates and advice, as well as offering moral support.

Charles Nairn has advised people offering to collect prescriptions for isolated people , it won't be necessary as Unichem Waipukurau Pharmacy will deliver. "Under the laws regarding prescriptions I do not believe I can hand medication to well-meaning volunteers to deliver. However, a patient can nominate someone to collect their medication for them."

"Anyone doing any kind of delivery, be it food, or medication, or books, needs to understand that they, and everything they touch is a potential vector for this disease. Hand washing and social isolation still needs to apply."

Under Covid-19 Level 4 conditions, pharmacies and supermarkets, petrol stations and essential banking will still operate.

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All non-essential services will close at 11.59pm on Wednesday.