Shopping safely

How to shop safely, including advice about getting groceries delivered, and what to do if you suspect price gouging.

Supermarkets, dairies, petrol stations, and pharmacies and permitted health services are open at all Alert Levels, and you can go into their premises.

All other shops can open if they can safely do so. This means following health restrictions for the relevant Alert Level.

Guidance on which workplaces are open at different Alert Levels, and how they should operate (external link)

Do not shop if you are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19 or were told to self-isolate.

Self-isolation advice if you’re unwell

If you cannot get essential supplies

While you’re out shopping

  • Wash your hands before and after you shop.
  • You are encouraged to wear a face covering.
  • Bring clean reusable shopping bags.
  • If the business allows you to bring your own food containers, make sure they are clean and wipe them down when you get home.
  • Try to limit the number of people from your household that are going to shop, as it will make physical distancing easier while you’re shopping. Try not to spend a long time in the shop.
  • Shops will be doing their best to limit the number of shoppers — helping you maintain physical distance.
  • If you like, take a soapy towel in a small container to wipe down the trolley or basket handles.
  • Only touch what you intend to buy.
  • If you can, use a contactless payment method like payWave, PayPass or Apple Pay.
  • If you’re using cash or touch the EFTPOS machine, do not touch your face until you have thoroughly washed your hands.
  • Bag goods and groceries away from others if you can.
  • Be respectful to employees and fellow shoppers.

Catching the virus by food is unlikely

The risk of COVID-19 transmission by food packaging is very unlikely. New Zealand Food Safety do not recommend disinfecting food products.

Getting groceries delivered

Supermarket websites will tell you if they have slots available for general online shopping. If they reserve these for sick or at-risk people, we recommend going to the supermarket instead of shopping online.

It’s okay for friends, family, whānau or delivery drivers to drop off goods and groceries. We recommend following the advice that applies to the Alert Level you're in.

What to do if you suspect price gouging

Businesses are free to set their own prices, but businesses should be transparent about their prices and any increases during this time.

You can report concerns about potential price gouging on goods and services to Price Watch. 

Report price increases you have noticed to Price Watch (external link)

Shopping at Alert Level 3

If you are heading out to pick up the essentials, plan your shopping in advance. Do not make multiple trips and make sure you know what restrictions shops have in place.

At Alert Level 3, independent butchers, bakeries and greengrocers may operate if they deliver or offer pre-arranged collection of goods bought online or by phone. You cannot enter the store.

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