Shoppers sick of waiting in supermarket queues may now get a slight reprieve as Countdown has announced its stores will open an hour earlier.
From Wednesday, members of the public can shop from 8am to 8pm daily. The priority hour for medical and emergency services workers starts at 7am, including for police, Fire and Emergency, ambulance paramedics, DHB and hospital workers.
Kiri Hannifin, general manager of health and safety, said that moving into autumn, opening stores earlier will give customers more time to shop and help to reduce queues.
She said that health and safety measures remain in-place across Countdown stores and reminds shoppers to practice physical distancing.
"Our customers have been doing a great job of playing their part to help us stop the spread of COVID-19.
"We'd ask that they continue to use the hand sanitiser we have available, keep at least a trolley length between themselves and other customers and make sure there's just one person per family doing the shopping as much as possible."
Shoppers who have some flexibility can use Google to check the wait at their local store before heading out.
For example, at 7pm on Tuesday, the listing for Countdown Three Kings shows that the store is "less busy than usual" and the busiest times are between 4 and 6pm.
Under COVID-19 lockdown, the days of quickly ducking into the supermarket seem a long time ago. With the shopping experience now about packed-out carparks, face masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes, shoppers are well-advised to get their list - and get in early.