Scores of Kiwi consumers have resorted to panic buying as fears over coronavirus grow in New Zealand.

It has led to big queues outside stores - even before opening hours - and aisles containing frozen produce, bread, baking ingredients, toilet paper and other household items being emptied.

But as the nation prepares to go into lockdown with level four of the Covid 19 coronavirus alert system, supermarket chain New World has written to its customers to try to allay some fears over supply.

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In a message to customers it stressed its stores "remain 100% committed to ensuring your grocery needs are met and we are doing everything we can to make this happen".

The full message reads:

Reduced store hours

Individual stores will determine their own operating hours and may choose to reduce them to be able to restock shelves. Individual stores will make this call based on the needs of their community. Please visit newworld.co.nz or your local store's Facebook page to stay across your supermarket's trading hours.

Staff protection measures

You will begin to see various staff protection measures in place at your local store including staff wearing masks, protective screens at checkout, and floor decals, communicating the appropriate 2m physical distancing length. We ask you to please comply with store signage and staff direction to maintain physical distancing.

Community shopping hours

We're in communication with elderly support groups and they have told us specific shopping hours aren't what they are looking for, it also does not align with the Ministry of Health's guidance for the over 70's to stay at home. The most important message here is for you to #shopnormal, so there is product on the shelves for the elderly when friends and relatives are shopping for them.

Mike Hosking talks to Jacinda Ardern about Coronavirus on Mike Hosking Breakfast. Video / Newstalk ZB

Nominate a family member to shop

To comply with physical distancing recommendations, and to ensure there is a steady flow of traffic in and out of stores within our 'one in, one out' system, we are asking you to please shop alone when coming into your local store. This is to ensure the number of people in-store at any one time is kept to a minimum – by leaving your loved ones at home you are helping to keep them safe.

Mike Hosking talks to Jacinda Ardern about Coronavirus on Mike Hosking Breakfast. Video / Newstalk ZB

Contactless payment

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We encourage you to use contactless payments such as payWave as another way of reducing contact between you and staff. Help us keep you safe.


Shop online

We have introduced contactless online shopping delivery for customers who are self-isolating, vulnerable or unwell – we ask you to simply let the team know in the comments section when the order is placed. We also ask if you are feeling unwell, to please not come to the store to collect your Click & Collect order and to instead arrange a friend or family member to pick up your groceries for you.

#shopnormal

We continue to ask you not to stockpile; this is so everyone has a fair shot at buying their grocery essentials. When someone buys five packs of toilet paper, and they only need one, they are taking away from four other people who may have needed it. Some customers might not have the resources to buy up or the ability to visit the store every day. Please buy what you need and be fair to others.

Be kind

We are asking you to please support us, as we work hard to continue meeting our goal of ensuring everyone has access to grocery essentials. We ask that everyone please remains patient and considerate to each other and staff during this time.

New World has seen New Zealand through trying times before and we'll continue to be there for you during this hard time. Please be patient, considerate and kind and we'll get through this together.

Kia kaha,
The New World Team

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website