A controversial debate has sparked online following the Ministry of Health's announcement that businesses do not need to provide hand sanitiser to customers during alert level 2.

"There is no requirement for business operating at Alert Level 2 to provide hand sanitiser for customers to use, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said.

"It is great to see some retail and other businesses offering hand sanitiser to customers and visitors. If they choose to do this, we would recommend a product that is at least 60% alcohol."

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The Herald shared a poll on Facebook, asking Kiwis if they think businesses should provide hand sanitiser to customers.

From the time of writing, at least 10,000 people have voted so far, with 65% voting that stores should provide sanitiser.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that businesses don't have to provide customers with hand sanitiser during alert level 2 - Do you think stores should? Let us know your opinion below.

Posted by nzherald.co.nz on Monday, 18 May 2020

Many have shared their opinion at to why businesses should have this measure to stop the spread of Covid-19.

"I think it is important to have manned hand sanitising stations before entering any mall or individual store," Lexie Harpur wrote.

"It helps enforce the need for everyone entering to use the hand sanitiser. Simply because not everyone is going to have access to it at home. It only takes one person infected to touch something to get the ball rolling."

Derrin McDonnell agreed: "If we are to sign in for contact tracing with a pen we want hand sanitisers as the pen is not sanitised. What's the point of social distancing if everyone uses the same pen?"

Rachel Real added that not everyone can afford to buy their own hand sanitiser.

"For some people that's a pint of milk, especially as some have lost jobs so money for anything other than food is difficult," she wrote.

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However, others from the 35 per cent who voted that businesses shouldn't provide hand sanitiser said people should take their own responsibility for their hygiene.

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"Take your own. Everyone is so entitled, wanting businesses to do this and that at their expense," Rima Kim said.

"When are people going to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and clean their own bloody hands and trolley handles."

Debbie Brown agreed: "I think people at this stage now know how to be safe, wash their own hands, wear gloves if need be. NZers should be responsible and if others aren't, just do you and keep your own family's safe."

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

Deborah Turner pointed out that she has her own sanitiser as the one in store has everyone's DNA on it.

"If you use your own only you have handled it," she said.

The Ministry of Health said the important message is that basic hygiene measures are the most important way to stop the spread of infections including Covid-19.

Basic hygiene measures include:

• hand hygiene – that is, washing hands regularly with soap and water, or cleansing with hand sanitiser

• staying at home if you are sick

• coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and then performing hand hygiene

• cleaning surfaces regularly