Both Countdown and Foodstuffs have implemented priority systems across their networks. They’re targeting different groups, with Foodstuffs prioritising emergency services and medical staff, and Countdown putting vulnerable customers first.
Effective from Friday 27th March, Foodstuffs invited uniformed or ID-carrying emergency services or medical professionals to enter stores first if there’s a line, and go through the checkout line first.
“As New Zealand works together to eliminate Covid-19, our emergency services and medical teams are going to be critical to help New Zealanders stay safe and well,” says Steve Anderson, CEO of Foodstuffs South Island. “We’re proud to be able to do our bit to make their lives easier when we know they’ll be working long and stressful hours. They deserve priority access all day every day, and our essential working staff look forward to serving them.”
On the same day, Countdown implemented a contrasting policy which saw it focus on vulnerable customers’ home deliveries. Eligible customers can apply for Countdown’s Priority Assistance if they are:
- Over 70 years of age
- Diagnosed with chronic illnesses including respiratory conditions, heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes. This also includes people undergoing treatment for cancer and blood conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.
- Possessing disabilities that make it difficult to shop in stores.
Once registered, customers will have access to available dedicated Priority Assistance delivery times.
Countdown is also ramping up its online delivery capacity and rolling out further physical distancing measures in stores.
Countdown’s general manager health and safety, Kiri Hannifin, has asked those able to shop in-stores to do so.
“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. We are continuing to work hard to increase the number of online delivery windows we have available, and prioritising these for vulnerable New Zealanders.”