Corona Virus Update

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Update on 12/08/2020-

As the coronavirus flares up again in our country we are requiring everyone to wear a face covering while inside the store. If everyone wears a mask when out in public and practice good hand hygiene we can hopefully stop the virus spreading and avoid further lockdowns.

 

Update on 08/06/2020-


Effective 9/Jun we will no longer require customers to wear a face covering as the country has had no new reported cases for a little over 2 weeks now. The reason we've decided to relax the requirement earlier is because there seems to be a low appetite for extra caution among the public. So to be in line with the government's call for lowering the pandemic alert level down to level one we are making this change. Fingers crossed everyone and let's hope for the best.

 

Update on 15/05/2020-


Based on best practices of public health policies internationally, our mask requirement will remain in force at least until after 42 consecutive days of zero new cases of coronavirus in the country. Although NZ has a relatively low number of cases, the per-capita number of cases is relatively high. Futher more, the speed it took from the first confirmed case to over 1,000 cases was comparatively fast. Therefore we have decided to protect the health of our staff and customers and would rather err on the side of caution.

 

Update on 11/05/2020-


Out of abundance of caution, our mask requirement will remain regardless of what Alert Level the government decides to set in the announcement later today. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make necessary changes to how we do things. Factors that we consider are: number of new cases, number of active cases, number of overseas arrivals, number of days since last new case, number of days since every case is resolved, among others.

 

Update on 23/04/2020-


In a CNN interview, Michael Osterholm, founder of University of Minnesota's Certer for Infectious Disease Researh and Policy, said this when asked about public spaces and mask-wearing:

"We have to acknowledge that we have put far too much emphasis on hand washing and environmental control. I come from a world of infectious diseases where I've spent my whole life preaching the importance of hand washing. It is important. But we have to be intellectually and scientifically honest with the public and admit that, while we shouldn't we stop washing our hands, we also shouldn't assume that decontaminating the environment or washing our hands is going to be enough to prevent us from becoming infected. This virus could be in the air around infected people. It could be the same air we share and breathe...."

 

So, while this isn't an endorsement for wearing a mask in public spaces, he seems to suggest that policy makers should consider masks as an option for opening up society during the pandemic.

"We can't stop living life. We have to move forward. But we must do so while thinking about how to get people back into society in a way that is thoughtful and takes into account every possible option to make sure people don't get seriously ill and don't subsequently die."

 

Update on 17/04/20-

As the end of Level4 lockdown approaches the rate of mask-wearing in public remains quite low in NZ. As our policy makers seem to have sidelined this simple yet effective method of "squashing the curve", it is up to individuals in our communities to proactively adopt mask-wearing.

The famous statistician, and author of the book The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb tweeted regarding mask-wearing: "This is the strongest statistical association I've seen w/ respect to the virus. Wear a mask, mandate others to wear masks, & remember that @WHO is criminally incompetent. To repeat:@WHO is criminally incompetent.
PS-Don't get into elevators, buses, etc. unless your mask in N95"  and,

"MASKS
One comment about masks and nonlinearities that these imbeciles are not getting.
Reducing exposure to viruses by 30% thanks to an "imperfect" mask does not mean reducing risk of contracting the disease by just 30%. By convexity, it must be more than 30%, can even be 95%."

 

Update on 07/04/20-

Evidence now suggesting coronavirus is MORE infectious before severe symptoms develop, despite popular belief to the contrary:

Coronavirus May Be Most Infectious When Symptoms Are Mildest

Like the Prime Minster said, everyone should behave as if we are all infected. Everyone should wear a mask not just to protect ourselves, but also those around us.

 

Update on 06/04/20-

We've seen an increase of people wearing gloves while grocery shopping. It's great, but remember that a dirty glove is still a dirty glove. Don't touch your eyes, nose, mouth or personal items such as cellphone, keys or wallet with a dirty glove.

This article tells us why it's a good idea to flush the toilet with the lid down:

Why you should flush with the lid down: Experts warn of fecal-oral transmission

 

Update on 02/04/20-

Finally a well-written article on mask-use success from CNN:

Asia May Have been Right About Coronavirus and Face Masks, Now the Rest of the World is Coming Around

Duh! Why does it have to be such a long learning curve for the rest of the world to catch up?

 

Update on 31/03/20-

Everyone should be wearing a mask! Why? Because:

You Could Be Spreading the Coronavirus without Realising You've Got It (New Scientist, 24 March 2020)

This makes a lot of sense:

President of German Medical Association tells public to wear simple masks

What can we learn from the Czech Republic's success?

Usage of Masks "Flattened" Growth of Coronavirus Cases in Czech Republic (Prague Morning, 29 March 2020)

And, here's a sensible move from another European country to do what's been working in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan all along:

Austrian Goverment Sets Mandatory Mask Wearing in Supermarkets

 

 

 

Update on 28/03/20-

As our Ministry of Health just published a poster on PPE requirements for essential non-health workers, effectively telling supermarket workers and many others that a face mask is not necessary, we share with you this following article from the New York Times.

Why Telling People They Don't Need Masks Backfired (March 17, 2020)

 

Update on 27/03/20-

As we enter day two of the national lockdown, supplies from manufacturers appear to flow smoothly. With fewer customers compared to just before the lockdown we are taking this opportunity to restock our shelves. Please be assured that supply of fresh produce, milk, eggs, bread, meat, other chilled and frozen goods and non-perishable foods are plentiful. Our in-store bakery is operating normally as well. Please remember to grab a face mask before you leave the house on a grocery run or we won't let you in.

 

Update on 18/03/20-

Customers who do not wear a mask or similar to cover their nose and mouth will not be allowed into the store. We realise some folks may object to this for some misguided reason. However this pandemic is not a drill and everyone needs to take it very seriously. People who are not taking the virus seriously put themselves and others at risk.
Customers who to not comply, try to cause a scene, or behave in a way that obstructs, interferes or circumvents this policy will be banned for life.

As a precautionary measure we are requiring all customers entering our store to wear a face mask/ respirator (or scarf or other material if no mask is available) for the protection of our staff members and all customers.

13/03/20

Here's the science supporting this measure:

Professional and Home-Made Face Masks Reduce Exposure to Respiratory Infections among the General Population, Marianne van de Sande et al. 2008

Everyday hundreds of customers come through our doors and interact face-to-face with our staff and other customers. It is only prudent that we try to minimise any chance of infection in our store and our community at large.

Anyone with reasonable intellegence can see for themselves that countries with high percentage of their population wearing masks are faring better. It is not to say wearing a mask is the sole reason behind their success, but it must be a mitigating factor. We don't want to go down the same road as the US and some European countries where the majority of their population aren't wearing masks even as the catastrophe is unfolding around them.

Some detractors may argue that face masks are not effective agains the virus, but that is just silly. Anything is better than nothing. Even wearing a common dust mask can stop your saliva from flying off while talking, and reduce your chances of inadvertantly touching your face, nose and mouth with a dirty hand.

Let's all pull together in the same direction as a community and hopefully we will all sail through this difficult storm with our health and lives intact.