A Bay of Plenty supermarket worker has been spat on after a confrontation with a customer who refused to abide by new Covid-19 restrictions.

Whakatāne Pak'n Save. Photo / Google Maps
Whakatāne Pak'n Save. Photo / Google Maps

The incident happened at Pak'n Save Whakatāne over the weekend, Foodstuffs NZ confirmed.

A butchery worker was spat on after the customer refused to stand behind the line at the butchery counter, Foodstuffs NZ's head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird said.

Laird told NZME this sort of behaviour was not tolerated at all and the offender was escorted off their premises.

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"Over the past few weeks we have implemented additional measures to ensure the safety of our staff, which includes physical distancing in-store and it is completely unacceptable to treat our hard-working team this way."

A police spokeswoman said it did not appear that officers were called to the incident.

Meanwhile, police arrested a 23-year-old man yesterday in Tauranga after he was allegedly deliberately coughing towards members of the public, a police spokeswoman said.

He was taken in for disorderly behaviour and had received a summons to appear at a later date, she said.

Last week, supermarkets nationwide introduced a range of safety measures as a way of protecting staff and customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the nation moving to alert level 4 status.

These measures included limiting the number of people inside at once, perspex screens at checkouts, hand sanitisation at the doors and masks for staff.

There were also physical distancing guides at a number of stores too.

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

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Three police officers were now in self-isolation after being spat on last night by a member of the public.

NZ Police Association president Chris Cahil said the member of the public, who had shown symptoms of Covid-19, spat in their faces while being arrested.

Toi Te Ora chief officer of health Phil Shoemack said incidents like this were "very concerning".

He said although every single one of us was under pressure at this time, spitting was a highly "unpleasant" and "dangerous" way to let this out.

If someone was to be infected by Covid-19, it could be spread through saliva, he said.

"Everyone has bugs in their mouths... viruses can spread from spit."

He asked for people to be tolerant at this time.

"We are all in this together," he said.