Retailers appeal for patience as Vaccine Passes become the norm

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Thousands of people protest in Auckland and other cities, riling shoppers

Shopping Malls re-open in Auckland after 107 days of lockdown (Te Ara Encyclopaedia Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 4, 2021

Bad temper and impatience are not helpful as retail businesses do their best to cope with the heavy demand at outlets, Retail New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Harford has said.

Thousands of people heckled the Police, shoppers and retail owners in Auckland’s fashionable district of New Market, Tauranga and other parts of the country, causing hardship and loss of business on the first weekend after Auckland came out of lockdown.

The protesters were shouting against the government measures of not allowing unvaccinated people at most venues.

Protesters in Newmarket, Auckland demanding removal of Vaccination Pass (RNZ Photo by Robin Martin)

Anti-Vaxxers disrupt shoppers

New Market Retail Association President Mark Knoff-Thomas called the anti-mandate protesters ‘dickheads’ for ruining one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Earlier in the day, a news story carried by Radio New Zealand mentioned that people should expect queues in some places where they will be checked for Vaccination Pass.

Under the Red Lights System, bars, restaurants, retail stores and many other businesses which have close-contact customers, those unvaccinated can be refused entry.

Retail New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Harford

Retail New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Harford said that he had heard of shoppers getting upset over staff checking vaccine passes.

“There will be perhaps some queues and limited numbers of people allowed into (some) stores. Please just be patient, everyone will get what they need in the end.”

He said that the behaviour of some customers getting angry with staff asking to see proof of vaccination was not acceptable.

“I have heard about some customers getting pretty grumpy when they are being asked to show their vaccine passes. My message to everyone is ‘please stay calm, if you are asked for a Vaccine Pass be ready with it because it is a government requirement,” he said.

A woman has her vaccine passport scanned at a shopping mall store

According to Mr Harford, some products may be in short supply over the weekend.

Glenfield Mall Co-Owner Dallas Pendergrast said that the weekend would be busy with people beginning to shop for Christmas.

“We have Santa and with entertainment planned, it would be a huge drawcard for children. Vaccine Passes are not needed to enter the Mall but they may be required in shops,” he said.

Anti Vaxx mandate sign in Northland (RNZ Photo by Angus Dreaver)

Education approach by Police

The Police will hold off on slapping people with fines for breaches of the Covid-19 traffic light rules, for now. They say that there will be a period of adjustment while the new system and hence the focus will be on educating people.

Covid-19 breaches can be reported to the 105 phone line and the Police will respond where property and safety are at risk.

Border checkpoints remain at Auckland’s northern and southern boundaries until the middle of this month.

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