The Indian Weekender has been informed by the office of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) that all Indian grocery stores and Asian supermarkets are to remain closed during the level 4 lockdown starting from Thursday, 12.00 am, March 26. 

An MBIE spokesperson came back to the Indian Weekender’s earlier inquiry about this much confusing issue within the broader Kiwi-Indian community with a response, leaving no doubt around the eligibility of such shops to remain operational. 

“Asian supermarkets are to close during alert level 4 as the foods sold in Asian supermarkets are largely also sold in larger supermarkets. We are trying to prevent community transmission by ensuring people limit movement to their suburbs,” the Media spokesperson said. 

Meanwhile, some more additional decisions and exemptions have been taken by the cabinet and the government authorities in preparation towards the level-4 lockdown. 

Butchers, bakeries and similar small-scale food retailers are considered non-essential, as similar products are readily available in supermarkets.

Natural health services are considered non-essential, and security services are categorized as essential services, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service. 

Additional decisions and exemptions – updated on covid19.govt.nz/ 7 pm, 25 March 2020

  • Butchers, bakeries and similar small-scale food retailers are considered non-essential, as similar products are readily available in supermarkets.

  • Natural health services are considered non-essential.

  • Security is considered an essential service, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service.

  • Critical support services to ensure businesses and workers can continue working from home are considered to be essential. This includes functions such as IT and Payroll.

  • Dairies can remain open, with a one-in-one-out rule, and cannot sell cooked food.

  • Food delivery is prohibited, except meals-on-wheels and whole-food delivery (eg subscription food boxes).

  • Every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation.

  • Liquor stores must close unless they are within Licensing Trust areas (in which case they can operate with a one-in-one-out rule).

  • Self-service laundries can stay open, with 2-metre physical distancing to be enforced.

  • Retirement villages are included as an essential service.

  • The Warehouse must close.

  • Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only.

  • The Tiwai Point smelter is exempt from closure.

  • NZ Steel is to shut down in a way that allows for production to recommence easily.

  • Pulp and paper plants are to shut down their non-essential elements in a way that allows for production to recommence easily, and while maintaining essential production.

  • Methanex can remain in production, but at a scale consistent with the stability of gas supply.

For any queries around essential services, you can get in touch with the MBIE team at 0508 377 388 or email essential@mbie.govt.nz.