KEY POINTS
• All non-essential businesses or services - bars, cafes, gyms, cinemas - should already be closed
• The Warehouse will close, as will liquor stores unless within a Licensing Trust Area
• Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Placemakers open for essential building and construction, but not general public
• Dairies can stay open but with strict "one in, one out" policy
• Meals on Wheels and delivery of non-pre-cooked food allowed. No food delivery such as Uber Eats
• Self-service laundry to stay open, with strict physical distancing
• Contact should be limited to a small "bubble", and bubbles shouldn't overlap
• Domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait services can be used until midnight Friday to get home

The Warehouse and most liquor stores will close when Covid-19 alert level 4 begins late Wednesday evening, Government ministers have confirmed.

MBIE Deputy Chief Executive Paul Stocks said ministers met on Tuesday night to clarify what essential services will remain open during the nationwide lockdown.

New Zealand will enter alert level 4 at 11.59pm tonight in an effort to "stop the virus in its tracks," he said.

Advertisement

"That's why we need as many businesses as possible to close their premises now if our one shot at beating the virus is to be successful.

"Only the businesses absolutely essential to ensure the necessities of life, like supermarkets and pharmacies, can stay open. If in doubt, the business premises should be closed."

That means all Warehouse stores need to shut up shop for the next four weeks at least.

All Warehouse stores needs to shut up shop for the next four weeks at least. Photo / Paul Taylor
All Warehouse stores needs to shut up shop for the next four weeks at least. Photo / Paul Taylor

"Leaving them open to the general public creates too high a risk of further spreading the virus," Stocks said.

Dairies can remain open, as they sell basic food items like milk and bread to those who live nearby, especially for the elderly who may struggle to get to a supermarket, he said.

"However, they will need to operate a strict 'one-in one-out' policy and they won't be allowed to sell food prepared on the premises.

"If any dairy breaks the rules, we will shut it down. If there is evidence of systemic abuse, we will remove them from the essential services list."

Liquor stores must close, unless they are within a Licensing Trust Area, such as in West Auckland and Invercargill.

Advertisement

These must operate with "one-in one-out" rule.

"Most people are able to purchase alcohol at supermarkets. On that basis liquor stores are being treated as other non-essential retail outlets and must close."

Food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Delivery Easy are a no-go, as they "pose a risk to human health". Only meals on wheels is exempt from this.

"We cannot guarantee every kitchen operates strict food preparation controls or that everyone who works in a kitchen is well," Stocks said.

"Evidence overseas suggests the virus has been spread via poor food hygiene practices, so it's a real risk we have to eliminate.

Schools and non-essential services across New Zealand will be closed for the next four weeks after the Government put the country in lockdown to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"For clarity, every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation, including delivery."

Delivery of food that is not pre-cooked will be allowed, but only under strict health conditions.

"Many New Zealanders now receive their food via a delivery company and are in effect no different to a supermarket delivery option."

"We are doing further work on online ordering of non-food products for home delivery to see if this type of retail can be conducted safely. We will update advice on this once further decisions are made."

Bunnings, Placemakers and Mitre 10 can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only - that means helping out in the construction supply chain, not for the general public.

Businesses that are a critical part of the supply chain for essential services are also able to continue operating, but must do so in a way that is safe.

"For example, if you make chemicals that are needed for our wastewater plants, then we need you to keep operating at the minimum level required."

Stocks reiterated that Covid-19 alert level 4 is not business as usual and will involve "significant restrictions on what New Zealanders are able to purchase".

"However, these changes are essential to stop the spread of the virus. We are ready to change the list if necessary. If we discover there are essential services that have not been made available we will react to that as we go."

More information:

• Dairies to stay open, with "one-in one-out" rule

• Food delivery prohibited, except meals on wheels and delivery of food not pre-cooked

• Liquor stores closed, unless within a Licensing Trust Area and with "one-in one-out" rule

• Self-service laundries can stay open, two-metre physical distancing to be enforced

• Retirement villages included as an essential service

• The Warehouse to close stores to the public

• Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only

• The Tiwai Pt smelter exempt from closure

• NZ Steel shut down in a way that allows for production to recommence easily

• Pulp and paper plants to shut down non-essential elements in a way that allows for production to recommence easily while maintaining essential production

• Methanex to remain in production, but at a scale consistent with stability of gas supply.

Focus: Shoppers protect themselves with masks and gloves at Pakn'Save Paraparaumu. Video / Mark Mitchell

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

MORE TO COME.