Coronavirus: Mass gathering restrictions hit churches, food markets

Restrictions on mass gatherings have forced some churches to get smart about the way they share their sermons.

At the same time, other Sunday events like Auckland's Avondale Market grapple with the loss of business.

Praying and praising - now in plastic. Some of the new safety measures Destiny Church members took at their drive-in service.

"It's great, there's plenty of space, no one's going to get any germs are they?" one churchgoer told Newshub.

Spacing out chairs indoors and televising its service outside will be the new norm.

"Unless you can't have more than one person in a car, and the car can't move, then we'll have to go online," says Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.

Other churches helped their parishioners follow best practice guidelines to stay safe, but had dramatically smaller congregations.

"It's supposed to be 300 and now probably one each family," says Apulu Uni Ieremia, from the Samoan Methodist Church.

And it wasn't just people staying home from church, but also from Auckland's Avondale market.

"It's never happened like this before, we've lost about 80 percent [of our] customers," Avondale Market stallholder Sunny Singh told Newshub.

It's the source of many families' incomes. But with dwindling numbers it's crippling their businesses.

"We have to pick our produce from our farm and we have to dump and pay for it. We can't sell at the moment. We've got nowhere to go," Singh says.

The Farmer's Market Association says there's been a recent boom in sales with people wanting to avoid supermarkets. But that seems to have all turned around now.

Otara Market has already been forced to close.

"If this closes down I don't know where we're going to get the money to pay the mortgage, the living, all the bills," Avondale Market stallholder Taniela Palu Halafihi says.

A trying time for small businesses who rely on foot traffic as people limit their social interactions.