COVID-19: Northland businesses taking measures into own hands after visit from positive case

The 56-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday had visited 30 locations around Northland and north of Auckland.

Some workers say they're frustrated by poor communication from the Ministry of Health and have taken measures into their own hands.

Fresh Choice Ruakākā is the only supermarket in the area taking level 2-like precautions - no scan, no entry and social distancing required. 

Cleaners have been called in to sanitise the local supermarket after the COVID-positive case visited twice.

Fresh Choices' owner Countdown said in a statement on Monday this news is disappointing.

"This is obviously disappointing news," the statement said.

"Any team members who were working during the times are being asked to stay home, self-isolate and get tested."

Ruakākā's local pharmacy had to bring staff out of retirement to stay open. Eight workers who were here at the same time as the COVID case are all in isolation.

"I'm a pharmacist but I no longer have a practicing certificate, so I'm just here helping on the front of this" Orr Pharmacy owner Kenneth Orr told Newshub.

Its phone lines are overwhelmed by people panic-buying prescriptions.

"Obviously people are concerned that if we were to close, they'd be disconnected by the meds," Orr said.

Numerous businesses visited by this COVID case have all become embodied in this COVID scare. 

The local butcher and general store were closed on Monday - no staff in sight, and no sign as to when they'll reopen. 

The woman spent 45 minutes at the South Head General Store last Tuesday.

Store owner Aaron Watson said he wasn't notified by the Ministry of Health, he only found out through social media late Sunday night.

Watson made the call to shut, self-isolate and deep clean his shop.

"Ya know we stayed open till 6 o'clock so if we had known - apparently some people got told about 2 o'clock so we actually could've closed shop," he said.

"I mean I realise that the whole country is in turmoil again but just something would be nice," Orr said.

Watson says the Ministry needs to do better, with officials today admitting they couldn't reach every business. 

"We were not able to get through to all of them and so by yesterday evening, we made a call to publish the list of those sites," Dr Ashley Bloomfield said on Monday.

For now - taking precautions is the best locals can do.