Supermarkets, petrol stations, gun outlets, liquor stores and other shops nationwide are busy this morning as Kiwis make a last-minute scramble to stock up before the midnight lockdown.

Despite repeated warnings by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and even the major supermarket chains collectively, telling New Zealanders to stay calm and not to panic-buy, as the supermarkets will remain open, queues are already forming at stores up and down the country.

For the second day running, Gun City in Penrose had a long queue outside before its doors opened at 9am.

Around 40 people were seen waiting on the street to get inside.


Police confirmed that officers attended yesterday between 7am - 8am as well as this morning to give "reassurance advice to both members of public and staff at the store".

"Police are continuing to monitor the situation," a spokeswoman said.

"Our priority as police is to keep all New Zealanders safe, and we want to remind people not to panic in this unprecedented time, look after one another, and stay safe."

She said there had been no reports of any disorder.

Yesterday, a concerned local estimated around 20-30 people were waiting to get in.

"Seriously, this is not the time to buy guns," he said.

Pak'nSave Manukau has installed perspex screens to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Photo / Facebook
Pak'nSave Manukau has installed perspex screens to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Photo / Facebook

From this morning, Countdown is rolling out Perspex screens at checkouts to "help protect both team and customers from any sneezes or coughs" while customers are being told to pack their own groceries.

Every second self-service checkout is closed and store security staff are monitoring numbers to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.


It's resulting in shoppers with trolleys queuing up outside, 2m apart, and being let in one-by-one by security staff.

Customers are also being encouraged to use payWave where possible. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

"We understand that for some people, these changes will be unsettling but we want to do all we can to help prevent the spread of Covid-19," Countdown's general manager for health and safety Kiri Hannifin said.

"We're determined to keep providing New Zealanders with access to our stores, while also making sure we're providing our team and customers a safe and healthy environment to shop in."

Foodstuffs, which includes New World and Pak'nSave, is also introducing Perspex screens at checkout and contactless payments.

It is also encouraging to shop online where possible, introducing a contactless online shopping delivery for customers who are self-isolating, vulnerable or unwell.

The Government last night issued a clarification on what is being deemed essential services, and confirmed that liquor stores and The Warehouse are to close their doors for the four-week lockdown period.

Shoppers were also seen this morning panic buying plants, clothes and games at The Warehouse Lyall Bay, with queues nearly the length of the store.

Liquor King says it's "experiencing unprecedented demand" and has put online orders temporarily on hold while stores remain open today.

New Lynn MP Deborah Russell yesterday was concerned about reports of people buying firearms and ammunition "to protect their families".

"You know what the very best way to protect your family is? WASH YOUR HANDS! STAY AT HOME! WASH YOUR HANDS SOME MORE! This is the best and most heroic thing you can do right now," she wrote in a Tweet.

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