An Auckland ICU nurse was shocked to be the victim of abuse as she visited the supermarket earlier this morning.
The nurse, who asked not to be identified, used her District Health Board card to bypass the queue at the New World near home, only to be met with a flood of abuse by other shoppers.
The incident happened around midday today and, at the time, the queue for the supermarket had about three separate lines of people, waiting underneath a marquee.
"There were maybe 20 to 25 people in total and they were letting in three people at a time," she told the Herald.
As she passed the queue, other shoppers yelled out insults at her, including calling her a "b****", a "f****** b****" and a "blind b****".
The nurse, who has been working long shifts in ICU, says she has been avoiding the supermarket at the hours she would normally go, to avoid crowds.
She explained why she used her card to get in and out of the shop as quickly as she could, in between her long shifts in hospital.
"I understand that many people are going through hard times and I know that I am very privileged to have a job to go to at all. But whenever I go to work I am putting myself at risk, I put my family at risk because I could bring it home," she said.
"I change clothes before and after work, I shower at work and wash uniforms every day to try to minimise the risk. I have also been made the main breadwinner in the family as my partner's work have stood him down as they class me as a high-risk contact. There's a lot that goes unnoticed in nursing and many of us would love to be at home in isolation with our families, but we have to go to work.
"Being able to get ahead in the line saves time, as with the shifts I work I often can't get to a supermarket within normal hours, especially as I'm wanting to protect the public and am showering and changing all clothes before going shopping. But also getting ahead makes me feel just the tiniest bit appreciated which I am grateful to New World for recognising this."
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The nurse said many of her colleagues have been abused and are now afraid to use their DHB ID badges.
"I'm definitely not the only person to have experienced this kind of behaviour from the public," she said.
Supermarkets across Auckland have reported long queues for shoppers to get in, with some people having to wait more than one hour to enter the shop.
New World allows all emergency services and medical personnel (which includes all military, Civil Defence, police, Fire and Emergency, ambulance, and medical professionals, including DHB staff, doctors and nurses) to use their ID to bypass queues at any time, across all its stores.
Nurses cannot wear their uniforms to the supermarket, because it is considered a health risk.
"So we do look like we are in mufti but we have to present our ID otherwise we aren't let in," the ICU nurse explained.
New World said on Facebook: "We're prioritising our emergency services and medical personnel as they are making an incredible commitment to keep us safe as we unite to fight against Covid-19. We are incredibly grateful for their service and want to do our bit to make their lives easier when we know they are working long and stressful hours. Thank you for your understanding and patience."
New Zealand today recorded 29 new cases of Covid-19, to a total of 1312 cases. The country has now had four Covid-19 deaths, three of those announced within the past two days.