The dilemma around the eligibility of the Indian grocery stores to remain operational like ordinary dairy-stores continues to remain as it is, while the government officials continue to respond to the high volume of inquiries and make an appropriate decision in this regard. 

The Minister for Economic Development, Phil Twyford, has taken upon himself to respond to the Indian Weekender’s repeated requests for an expeditious clarification on this hugely important issue for the Kiwi-Indian community. 

Acknowledging the Indian Weekender’s inquiry for clarity on this important issue, the Minister has assured the community that the concerned officials, who are inundated with a lot of work and emails in preparation for Level -4 lockdown, are working to get the earliest response. 

“Thank you for writing to me regarding decisions on essential services. As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, we have been working urgently on this as we prepare to move to Level 4 Alert,” Mr Twyofrd said. 

 “There is very high threshold for essential services,” says Minister

 However, the Minister has suggested that the government and the authorities are placing a very high threshold on essential services that will be allowed to function during the 4-week complete lockdown. 

 “Only businesses that are essential to the provision of the necessities of life are able to remain open during the Level 4 Alert period. This is a very high threshold. 

 “All non-essential businesses must close their premises while the Level 4 Alert is in place,” the Minister asserted. 

 Business urged to not open, if in doubt

It is imperative that all businesses, including the Indian grocery stores, till they get official clearance from the government officials, in response to the Indian Weekender’s inquiry, should remain close and contribute in our collective fight against the dreaded Coronavirus. 

 “I forwarded your request regarding Indian grocery stores to officials to consider and you will have a response in due course. Thank you in advance for your patience as we work through the high volume of requests received.

 “Please remember that if you are not providing an essential service, you are supporting New Zealand’s response by closing, self-isolating, and following other public health advice. We all have a role to play to respond together against COVID-19, and for many of us that will mean staying home. Staying home will help stop the spread and help save lives,” the Minister said. 

 The Indian Weekender is in close communication with the senior Ministers and the government officials engaged with the supreme task of coordinating national efforts in the fight against coronavirus and will keep the community updated. 

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