The Government has just announced clarifications to the rules around what is considered to be an essential business during the COVID-19 crisis. These clarifications mean that we now know what the rules are, and which retailers are still able to open while we are at COVID-19 Level 4 Alert.
What are essential service stores and permitted to open?
Pet shops and pet services*
Dairies (with a one-in, one-out rule)
Self-service laundries (two metre physical distancing rules apply)
Stores supplying the building/ construction sector (but only for trade customers for essential purposes)
Uncooked food delivery services (subject to conditions)
* Special registration requirements apply. If your store does not feature on this list, at this stage you will be required to close your operations from 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March. Online retailing The Government has not made a decision about online retailing. It is still considering this point and we are not sure what the timing of the decision will be. In the meantime, unless your store features on the list above, we advise you not to trade online. Specialty food stores There is no firm information about specialty and bulk food stores, greengrocers, bakers and butchers. At this stage, you are required to close, pending any further clarification from the Government. Protecting people If you are operating an "essential" store, you will likely need to follow special health procedures to protect your employees and customers, and provide personal protective equipment for your team. Do you operate a pet store or pet service? Special registration requirements apply to pet stores (see here for more info). More information? You can see details of the Government's announcement here.