The head of one of New Zealand's biggest fast-food chains has criticised rivals, claiming her business is the only major chain following the full level-3 rules and restrictions.
Wendy's New Zealand CEO Danielle Lendich said that while small hospitality businesses seemed to be obeying the rules, other fast-food giants weren't following "any of the procedures at all".
"It's been very disappointing that the big players, I don't think, have been following what the government was trying to achieve," she told Newstalk ZB's Marcus Lush. "And they seem to be getting away with it."
At the lowered alert level, Kiwis can get their fast-food fix, but only if it can be ordered and picked up without face-to-face contact.
Images emerged yesterday of crowds of people ignoring physical distancing rules outside a BurgerFuel outlet, raising the ire of the Prime Minister and the Director-General of Health.
In response, BurgerFuel says it is now using crowd controllers at its 56 outlets; has restricted online orders; and it has provided video training to staff on the rules.
The company issued a statement admitting that "major volumes of orders following five weeks of no operation resulted in some stores struggling to control crowds at peak collection times" on the first day of alert level 3 on Tuesday.
Lendich said it appeared the other fast-food franchises were operating their drive-thru services as normal.
"I don't know if they just haven't thought it through or if they just think, 'The Government said we can operate drive-thru, so let's just operate it," she said.
"It's supposed to be a contactless environment and I don't know how they don't understand that."
Wendy's had implemented a number or procedures to ensure the health of safety of the staff and customers, she said.
"We're completely contactless, so our eftpos machine is outside, it's paywave. We pass our food onto a table outside with your car window up and you can't put your car window down until we shut the window."
Staff were keeping one metre apart from each other and were regularly washing and sanitising their hands, even sitting at separate tables on their lunch breaks, she said.
"We're even doing contact tracing – every order that comes through, that's not either via our app or via Uber Eats, we're asking every person for their name and phone number.
"I don't think the others are doing that."
Another image emerged yesterday that showed 13 delivery drivers standing closely together outside a McDonald's outlet in Auckland.
A spokesman for McDonald's said the Grey Lynn outlet was "by some margin the biggest restaurant for Uber Eats in the country".
"While we have developed new physical distancing and contactless service procedures, and restaurants had traffic management plans in place, the volume of customers definitely caused some challenges when we reopened on Tuesday," he said.
"At some restaurants we had third party delivery drivers congregating, waiting for orders. We had signage in place and restaurant managers asked drivers to observe social distancing, but in some cases this was ignored.
"We have spoken with our delivery partners and asked them to remind their drivers of distancing protocols, and we have taken additional steps with security and signage at our restaurants.
"We thank everyone for their patience on Tuesday, and expect the initial rush to calm down today. We will continue to review our approach with physical distancing and contactless service as we adapt along with our customers to operating under alert level 3."
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Lendich said at Wendy's, Uber drivers were asked to sanitise their hands and practise physical distancing.
"We put the food on the table and they must collect it from the table," Lendich said.
"We've marked out the floor with squares. The squares are two meters apart so when they're waiting, they're two metres apart.
"All my staff at least two metres away from them at any time."
Kiwis have embraced the less restrictive level 3 rules, flocking to fast food providers in droves since Tuesday morning.
Auckland's Burger Fuel saw mobs of hungry punters queuing well within each other's bubbles on Tuesday evening, leading to the company calling in crowd control and receiving a grilling from Jacinda Ardern.
Ardern said she had seen photos of people gathered outside the outlet, which were clearly in breach of the physical distancing rules.
"We have had confirmation from officials this morning they have been directly in contact with the head office of that operation," she said.
But with more than 300,000 McDonald's burger devoured in the first day of "Threedon" and fast food fanatics queuing up hours before takeaway joints opened, concerns are mounting that the country will take a step back in its fight against Covid-19.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield again urged the public to maintain physical distancing, hand hygiene and to stay inside if they were unwell.
The overall message - "Stay home, save lives" remained the same, he said, as we warned that non-compliant premises could be forced to shut their doors.
But despite the public warnings, Lendich said many customers were still trying to pay for their burgers with cash.
"I'm surprised at the number of people coming through wanting to pay with cash - there's been so much publicity that no one should be taking cash.
"I just don't think the others have taken it as seriously as what the Government was really meaning. We're still at level 3, we're not at level 2."