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Kiwis will now be able to buy heaters, whiteware and computers during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Government has decided that the sale of essential goods such as heaters, whiteware and computers will be allowed - in recognition of the need for people to safely isolate, stay connected to one another and work or study from home.

In a statement just released the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says in order to protect public safety there will be conditions around the selling of these items.

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Businesses must operate responsibly and only make available for sale genuine essential goods - goods that are necessities of life while ensuring we restrict the movement of people and workers to combat COVID-19.

The public must order responsibly purchasing only those items that are absolutely necessary to facilitate life and work during the lock down period.

In order to be able to sell these essential goods, businesses must:
• Only take orders online or by phone and keep storefronts shut.
• Take orders for only essential non-food goods.
• Home deliver all essential goods in a contactless way and not allow people to visit stores to select or collect goods.
• Take all appropriate public health measures to protect their staff and customers (e.g. physical distancing, hygiene basics, appropriate personal protective equipment).
• Notify MBIE that they meet these conditions and intend to offer essential goods for sale and provide a list of those products.

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MBIE has warned if businesses can't meet these conditions they should not offer to sell essential goods while the country is at Alert Level 4.

"If businesses are too generous in their interpretation of what is "essential" or flout these rules, Government will take further action."

Essential goods are those that will keep people warm (heaters, blankets), replace key household appliances, and maintain people's health. Examples of essential products are blankets, fridges, heaters and computers or tablets to work from home or do distance learning, or simply connect with people. "If people can't buy these, then we risk people venturing out of their homes more often."

Members of the public are being asked for patience as businesses amend their systems in order to comply with the new rules.