"Shop normally" is the message from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a weekend rush on supermarkets has resulted in bare shelves and queues out the door as supermarkets opened late.
The Prime Minister has announced a four-level emergency alert system for Covid-19 saying New Zealand is at alert level 2, whereby anyone over age 70 or with a compromised immune system should stay home.
"It's important to note that with every level, supermarkets and essential services - like access to pharmaceuticals - will continue," she said.
"Shop normally. If we do that, our supermarkets will have time to restock their shelves."
In Auckland, queues formed at supermarkets just to get in the door on Saturday and car parks were full two hours before opening, as confirmed cases of Covid-19 continued to rise around the country.
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At Countdown Mt Roskill, doors opened an hour later than usual at 9am after Countdown announced reduced opening hours would kick in across the country today, with closing now at 8pm.
One shopper said the supermarket was out of milk, flour, rice, pasta, many cereals, and tinned goods, with no explanations and no advice to customers.
In an online statement sent to customers, Countdown managing director Natalie Davis said the supermarket chain was continuing to see unprecedented demand which translated to a shortage on shelves.
"We're doing the best we can in our stores, and encourage customers not to buy more than they need."
It put a limit of two same items of everything except produce and serviced deli foods yesterday.
Countdown was also hiring staff to help cope with the demand, as was Foodstuffs yesterday.
A shopper at New World in Mt Wellington said she went early to do her weekly shop only to find a queue of people waiting for the store to open.
Carolyn Adams said she arrived at the store about 7.20am.
"Normally it opens at 7 but it wasn't open and there was a poster to say they had adjusted their hours and they'd be open at 8.
"There was probably 20 or 30 people queuing when I got there. There was probably 200 people waiting by the time it opened.
"They came out to let us know they would be opening from 8am to 9pm from now on to give them a chance to restock the shelves."
Adams said inside it was very busy but shoppers were sensible and well-behaved.
"Everyone kind of grabbed trolleys and raced in. There was actually quite a lot of toilet paper on the shelves.
"I just got produce, eggs, a bit of meat, some chocolate, some wine, and got out. I got what I would normally buy."
The Prime Minister's message reiterated Davis' one yesterday that there was plenty of food if New Zealanders stuck to their normal buying habits and didn't panic buy.
"There is plenty of food available, and providing this to you absolutely remains our focus," Davis said.
To ease the "immense pressure" Countdown had implemented changes including:
• A limit of two similar items per customer except on produce and serviced deli;
• The change in trading hours to 8am-9pm;
• Prioritising support for older and vulnerable customers;
• Hiring more staff.