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Urgent Clarity Required On Essential Retail Services

Retail NZ says the Government needs to provide urgent clarity on what are “essential retail services” following today’s announcement that non-essential stores will be required to close within 48 hours.

“In the Prime Minister’s press statement, she referred to supermarkets and the food supply chain being exempt from closure requirements. However, there is a much broader range of stores providing essential goods to New Zealanders. There is a range of speciality grocers, food stores and convenience stores that people may not class as supermarkets but which are nonetheless a key means of delivering food to New Zealanders. These stores should also be exempt from any closure requirements,” Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford said today.

“It is also important to consider the needs of companion animals through the Covid-19 crisis. Pet stores and veterinary clinics provide a range of goods essential for the well-being of animals. Owners of animals with allergies or other special food requirements may need access to food and supplies that are not available from supermarkets. It is important that these services are able to access the products they need to keep their animals healthy.

“Finally, there is a range of other stores that provide supplies that are essential to the maintenance and operation of households, as well as the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. These include hardware stores, garden stores (especially for fruit and vegetable plants), appliance stores (for communications), specialty trade stores and the like.

“Retail NZ is calling for the Government to provide urgent clarity on what it is defining as essential retail, noting that the food supply chain is broader than supermarkets.”

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