Covid 19 coronavirus: NZ Post continues level 2 restrictions, takes alert levels ‘into their own hands’

Some NZ Post shops in Auckland are still operating under alert level 2 Covid rules despite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moving the whole country to alert level 1.

A medical expert says it shows an “erosion of confidence” in the Government’s alert levels.

A customer who contacted the Herald said the Victoria St NZ Post store was restricting customers in the shop, and requiring them to scan in the Covid Tracer app before entering.

“[A] staff member is standing at the door arranging all this fiasco which is slowing people down from getting their parcels and making payments etc, for no legitimate reason – as this person could actually be serving people, instead [of] leaving only two people serving and leaving queues outside,” the customer said.

Under alert level 1, businesses were required to display the QR code, promote good hygiene practices in the workplace and ensure unwell employees were staying home.

Alert level 2 includes additional restrictions, such as keeping workers 1 metre apart, and customers of retail businesses 2 metres apart at all times – which can limit the number of people allowed inside at any time.

A NZ Post spokesperson said they were implementing level 2 restrictions at their sites in Victoria St, Ellerslie, Glen Innes, Pakuranga and Newmarket.

“While Auckland is currently at alert level 1, given the proximity of recent community cases to some of our major sites, NZ Post are implementing additional safety precautions for some Auckland sites in line with what you would see at alert level 2.

“We will be continuously reviewing these guidelines with the view to keeping our people and customers safe.”

They said retail outlets owned and operated by their partners did not need to follow the restrictions.

Auckland University Professor of Medicine Des Gorman said he was not surprised individual businesses were implementing their own alert levels.

“I understand why they’re doing it, and it’s basically saying ‘we no longer see clarity in the way the Government’s managing its risk’.

“I think people are quite confused about what level of risk management we should be engaging in at any particular time.

“It’s now got to the point where people have just got so confused that they’ve given up trying to work it out, or people are saying we need to take measures into our own hands, and behave in a way that we think makes sense.”

He said people had been confused by recent alert level changes, such as Auckland’s move to alert level 2 after three days in alert level 3.

“It’s that growing level of uncertainty about what a reaction will be under a certain circumstance … an erosion of confidence.”

But he said he would be more concerned about businesses taking a “liberal view” on alert levels than a conservative one.

Earlier this month leading health experts set out how New Zealand’s Covid-19 alert levels could be revised, with a seven-tier system designed to better manage local outbreaks.

The Ministry of Health and Minister for Covid response Chris Hipkins have been approached for comment.

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