Countdown has launched a priority assistance initiative to ensure New Zealand's most vulnerable are receiving supplies during the COVID-19 lockdown.
As the pandemic continues many people have switched from visiting supermarkets to receiving online deliveries to minimise contact and isolate, but this has put a strain on the delivery side of supermarkets.
Now Countdown is increasing their delivery capacity and launching a priority initiative.
Countdown's General Manager Health & Safety Kiri Hannifin says for many New Zealanders online delivery is the only way they will be able to access essential food and groceries.
"This is an incredibly challenging time for all of us as Kiwis, but for some people, there is significantly more risk," she says.
"Our online shopping services have seen unprecedented demand and to help ensure we can provide the essential service we need to, we are prioritising those customers whom the government has identified as most vulnerable at this time.
"Our teams have been doing everything possible to scale up online and home deliveries to the elderly, people with disabilities or those in mandatory self-isolation."
Those who will be eligible for the service include:
- People over 70 years old
- People with disabilities which make it difficult to shop in stores
- People with chronic diseases including heart conditions, respiratory illnesses, high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes, etc
- People undergoing treatment for cancer and blood conditions
- People who are in self-isolation after returning from travel or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- People with special circumstances on a case by case basis
Eligible customers can apply by filling out a form on Countdown's website.
Hannifin says Countdown is currently experiencing delays with delivery orders and is converting some supermarkets to online shopping hubs to manage the demand.
The Grey Lynn Central supermarket in Auckland is now a hub and Countdown is also in the process of converting five other supermarkets into hubs, but they assure customers there are other supermarkets in the area they can shop at instead.
Auckland's CBD Albert Street Metro store will also be closing on Friday to have their team members help with online shopping services.