The NZ Food and Grocery Council is applauding the decision to allow dairies to stay open during the lockdown period, as well as certain liquor stores.

And despite hinting at disapproval, FGC chief executive Katherine Rich is backing the Government's decision to shut The Warehouse and most food delivery services - including Uber Eats and Delivery Easy.

"We need to trust the experts and the Government to make these decisions, and do what is asked of us. We are on a war footing," Rich told the Herald.

A perspex screen installed at the New World supermarket in Te Puke. Supermarkets will have them installed as the country gets ready for the lockdown period. Photo / Supplied
A perspex screen installed at the New World supermarket in Te Puke. Supermarkets will have them installed as the country gets ready for the lockdown period. Photo / Supplied

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Covid 19 coronavirus: The Warehouse, liquor stores to close during lockdown

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Late last night MBIE deputy chief executive Paul Stocks said The Warehouse, which had yesterday declared itself an essential service, had to close for the four-week lockdown, starting from midnight tonight.

"Unfortunately the Warehouse needs to close its shops. Leaving them open to the general public creates too high a risk of further spreading the virus."

MBIE's list of essential services includes supermarkets, banks, GPs, pharmacies, service stations, couriers, border agencies, media, building and construction, courts and those in supply chains for those sectors.

Liquor stores in Australia and New York are staying open during lockdown, but those in New Zealand have to close unless they are in licensing trust areas, where there is nowhere else to buy alcohol.

These stores must operate a "one-in one-out" policy, which also applies to dairies, meaning only one person can be in the store at any one time.

Rich said it was a no-brainer to include dairies.

"They are critical. Four Squares and dairies are hubs of their communities and also in places where there might not be supermarkets. They know their people and are often the easiest place for the elderly to shop."

Asked about most liquor stores, food delivery services and The Warehouse having to shut, she declined to criticise.

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"I have a view, but this is not the time for debates."

The Warehouse has been contacted for comment.

The Warehouse will have to shut shop from midnight tonight. Photo / Bevan Conley
The Warehouse will have to shut shop from midnight tonight. Photo / Bevan Conley

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

Stocks said dairies will be shut down if they flout the "one in, one out" rule.

He said Uber Eats and Deliver Easy posed a risk to human health.

"We cannot guarantee every kitchen operates strict food preparation controls or that everyone who works in a kitchen is well. Evidence overseas suggests the virus has been spread via poor food hygiene practices, so it's a real risk we have to eliminate.

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

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

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

Bunnings, Placemakers and Mitre 10 can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only, not to the public.

An announcement is expected today about the online ordering of non-food products for home delivery.