Q: I don't want to catch Covid (again), can I still wear respiratory protection while it's not legally required?
A: Absolutely. You don't need permission to take self responsibility for your your own health and wellbeing, and for respecting other people's right to not catch Covid from you should you be infected. Doing the right thing often means doing something good without being compelled by authorities.
Q: I have already caught Covid-19, why do I still need respiratory protection?
A: Three reasons. One, you may still be infectious, depending on when you were infected and other factors. You may unknowingly infect other people. Two, you may be re-infected by other people if your previous infection was a while ago, or if it was a different viral variant. This article from WebMD explains. Three, there is increasing evidence of each subsequent re-infection causing more damage to the body as explained by WebMD.
Q: I believe wearing a face mask is harmful. Can I shop without a mask?
A: Not while it's legally required. You have been misled. Respiratory protection is routinely used by people in many professions for their jobs, often continuously for long hours everyday without any ill effects. "Information" that tells people not to use respiratory protection in the middle of a respiratory pandemic is designed to do you harm. Research this page to learn the truth- https://www.factcheck.org/2021/08/scicheck-misinformation-about-face-masks/
Q: I believe wearing a face mask should be a personal choice. Am I wrong?
A: Many people exercise their personal responsibility by wearing respiratory protection even when not mandated by authorities. While some believe choosing to expose themselves and others around them to a potentially deadly pathogen is exercising personal choice. When a 'personal choice' can harm other people, it is not just a personal choice anymore. It is a selfish and self-harming act.
Q: How will the government's announcement on 23/3/22 about changes to the Covid-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) affect shopping at Liberty Market?
A: There will be no change. The announcement mainly deals with changes to vaccine pass rules. As we do not require a vaccine pass, there is no change to shopping at Liberty Market. Masks are still required in all indoor settings, including shops. We are aware of misinformation suggesting government is removing masking mandate from 4/4/22. THAT IS FALSE. Indoor masking mandate remains throughout RED AND ORANGE traffic light settings. Check your facts from the official source at covid19.govt.nz
Q: How will you keep shopping at Liberty Market safe from catching Covid now that Covid is widespread in our community?
A: It is a very good question. We adopt a multi-layered approach to reduce your chances of catching Covid here. Based on known scientific knowledge about the virus so far, we prioritise improved ventilation in the store because Covid is an airborne disease. Germicidal air purifiers are installed throughout the store to further reduce viral particles in the air, if there is any. Staff members are wearing masks at all times except when eating or drinking, and their health status is monitored to ensure no infectious staff can come near customers. Customers are also required to wear their face masks correctly and consistently, to reduce the odds of contaminating the air by an infectious customer, and to protect themselves from inhaling unfiltered air. Key high-touch surfaces such as EFTPOS pin pads are wiped down using 75% alcohol solution after each use to prevent any residual viral particles, if any, from spreading. And because most schools and early childhood learning centres around NZ now have Covid-infected kids, we strongly encourage all kids old enough to wear a mask in order to protect themselves and others around them.
Q: What are you doing to keep shoppers safe during the pandemic?
A: Liberty Market takes the pandemic extremely seriously. We were among the first retailers to require face masks for both shoppers and staff back in March 2020 when the pandemic started, before government mandate. From the science we know so far, ventilation and masking are the most important things in an indoor setting. We have increased fresh outdoor air pumped into the store to minimise any virus floating in the air, and we have consistently asked customers and staff to mask up during outbreaks. We have installed industrial strength air purifiers throughout the store to further reduce any risk of spreading the airborne virus.
Q: Do I need to wear a face mask in-store?
A: Yes, when legally required and when we require it. We recommend N95 or P2 face masks for maximum protection. There are no known shortages of such masks currently so the general public can safely purchase N95/P2 masks without fear of competing for supply with medical workers. During an outbreak and when mandated by the government, face masks are required. Our team risk their lives everyday working hard to keep shelves stocked. Let's protect each other by doing this simple life-saving thing- wearing a mask.
Q: What about children?
A: The American CDC recommends children over the age of 2 wear a face mask when out in public. Current science shows children of all ages can become infected and can transmit the virus to other people, some do get seriously ill. It makes sense for children of all ages (old enough to remove the mask themselves) to wear a mask while out in public, to protect themselves and other people around them. Some governments around the world set the cut-off ages that are much higher. They are designed to suit policy considerations and are probably decided out of convenience. As we can appreciate policy makers do have a myriad of factors to consider when setting policy. Smart parents will want to protect their kids the best way they can. The question we should ask is "How do I protect my kids from catching Covid?" rather than "do I have to make my kids wear a mask?"
Q: Why do I need to wear a face mask?
A: For those who may have been living under a rock, there is this infectious disease that has been ravaging the planet for the last two and half years. It is a respiratory pathogen that's spread by the air people breath out. Wearing a face mask helps filter out some of the virus floating in the air, to protect the wearer, and it helps filter out the air that comes out of the wearer, to protect others in case the wearer is infected.
For the 1% that have a chip on their shoulder or have done too much Facebook 'research' and don't like wearing a mask and think somehow mask-wearing is bad- please look up the term "useful idiot" and look in the mirror. You are a victim of sophisticated manipulation campaigns.
We believe the overwhelming majority of organic food consumers are intelligent and open minded, and they are not easily duped into believing falsehoods that are designed to wreck our health, kill our people, and mess with our democracy.
Q: What about surfaces and high touch areas?
A: Yes, we also strategically disinfect high-touch surfaces such as eftpos terminals and door handles using 70% alcohol. Although scientific research has not found any known documented virus case resulting from touching a surface, we choose to be safe than sorry.
Q: What if I have a mask exemption?
A: The exemption only means exempt from the government mask mandate. This University of Washington Medical School article clearly explains the topic of people with severe respiratory conditions. It says people with asthma or a lung conditions should definitely wear a mask, because these people are at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
Dr. Jim Keany, an emergency physician based in Orange County, California, says this about people with breathing conditions- if your respiratory status is truly that tenuous that you’re not able to breathe through a cloth face covering, you should stay home and not expose yourself to any risk. If you are truly that fragile, a COVID-19 infection could be a death sentence. According this article published by Health.com back in June 29, 2020.
So it's apparent medical professionals would agree people with severe respiratory conditions should consider asking their family to shop for them during an outbreak to reduce their chances of exposure to Covid-19. Some people fake 'exemptions' to get away without wearing a mask. This behaviour puts themselves and others in danger of infection, illness, and death. They are also breaking the law.
Q: Do you accept cash?
A: Yes. The virus is transmitted by air, not cash.
Q: Will you require customers to be vaccinated?
A: No, but we do ask customers to mask up during an outbreak. Current science shows that even vaccinated people can become infected and pass on the virus to others. And it is proven that over time immunity drops. Masking up is a smart thing to do whether you're vaccinated or not.
Q: Will you comply with government contact tracing?
A: Yes, like any other business we will comply with lawful government requests for contact tracing information if we are asked. Contact tracing is primarily done through the NZ Covid Tracer App. If a customers didn't scan in using the app then government contact tracers may ask us to provide information to aid contact tracing. Such information may include things like CCTV footage, contact tracing manual sign-in records, bank card transaction records, or loyalty card visit records. We will only disclose the minimum information that's required for the sole purpose of contact tracing only. Things like what you bought are not necessary information for contact tracing and therefore will not be disclosed. (So far we have not been asked by the authorities to provide contract tracing information.)