Auckland retailers gear up to open under COVID-19 alert level 3, step 2

Auckland retailers, including shopping malls are gearing up to open their doors on Wednesday.
Auckland retailers, including shopping malls are gearing up to open their doors on Wednesday. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The move to COVID-19 alert level 3, step 2 for Auckland marks twelve weeks of closed doors for retailers - and full car parks are expected when shopping centres reopen on Wednesday.

Although click-and-collect and contactless services have been available, re-opening of retail represents another step towards usual freedoms. For some, it means an opportunity to get  some retail therapy, and for others, a head start on their Christmas shopping.

Retail New Zealand chief executive Greg Harford told Newshub as prolonged alert level 4 and level 3 restrictions put huge pressure on retailers, they're "chomping at the bit" to open their doors to the public again.

"Across the sector, businesses have been working through processes to keep their customers safe as they re-open, and are looking forward to welcoming customers back in store," Harford said.

Shoppers should bring their face masks and be prepared to scan in. Social distancing measures mean they could expect to see queues, one-way systems and other safety measures in-place.

"Retail NZ is asking customers to stay patient and be understanding - everyone in retail will be doing their best to provide great service, even with the extra requirements," Harford added.

Although cash is still accepted by most retailers, contactless payment is preferred, he said. 

New Zealand Council of Retail Property chair Campbell Barbour, said as retailers have had time to get prepared, they're "ready and waiting to go". Although shopping centres have their own  procedures, shoppers could expect clealiness, space for distancing, signage and messaging to be in-place across centres.

"We're expecting there'll be a lot of people keen to get back out and about...tomorrow's the first day of it."

Linda Trainer, general manager, asset management at Kiwi Property Group, which owns shopping centres at Sylvia Park and Lynnmall in Auckland, says customer numbers will be monitored to ensure social distancing is maintained.

"At the current settings, food court seating will also be closed and the centre’s cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer takeaway food and beverages," Trainer said.

Close contact services, such as hairdressers, beauty therapists and massage services, including those in shopping malls, will remain closed.

Shoppers wanting to enjoy their first day of retail therapy are advised to plan ahead, be considerate of other shoppers and avoid peak shopping times.