Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Countdown wants people to wear masks but will leave enforcement to Police

Countdown won’t be refusing entry to some people entering its stores who are not wearing masks, saying face coverings won’t work for everyone.

From today, staff and customers must wear masks at essential services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, dairies and service stations. New Zealanders must also wear masks at bus terminals and in taxis.

Countdown told RNZ it understood some people couldn’t wear masks – including those under 12, people with speech impediments and others who might have a medical reason or medical certificate.

However, in a statement later provided to the Herald, Countdown reiterated it was a condition of entry in all stores. There would be clear signage and masks available at the store entrance reminding people.

But Countdown general manager of corporate affairs, quality, safety and sustainability Kiri Hannifin said staff were not suddenly going to become bouncers at the door.

“It’s not our job to enforce it. I need to make sure we keep our people safe so we are not going to be bouncers at the door we are just hoping people comply and we are going to make it as easy as we can,.

“If customers become aggressive and refuse to wear a mask, the advice from the NZ Police is that our supermarket team members should not enforce this as it is simply too dangerous.”

Police would be called if any customers became angry or aggressive.

Hannifin said yesterday most shoppers were donning masks and so she hoped it would be a pretty easy transition.

Countdown would have posters up reminding people to wear masks and would have masks available at the door for people who have forgotten.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has said police could issue infringements to those not wearing a mask under new alert level 4 rules.

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