Indian Supermarkets, superettes are essential services

Indian Supermarkets, superettes are essential services

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 26, 2020

Om Sai in East Auckland (left) and SS Market in Sandringham retail exclusive items

There has never been a doubt that supermarkets and superettes owned, operated and managed by people of Indian origin are considered Essential Services.

There was considerable confusion this morning and this report from Indian Newslink should clarify and set rumours and doubts to rest.

The government has clarified that ethnic supermarkets are classified under Essential Services.

It is apparent that the same principle of essential services applies to all ethnic supermarkets, superettes and similar retail stores.

It stands to reason that if dairies, a majority of which are owned by people of Indian origin are categorised under essential services, so should supermarkets and superettes.

Importance of ethnic supermarkets

Ethnic supermarkets import, distribute and retail a wide range of products that are special to the communities they serve and these products are essential ingredients in their daily diet.

However, all these retail outlets should follow strict social distancing policy, follow ‘one-in, one-out’ or any other policy applicable to them and ensure that customers and those at the cash counter also maintain the prescribed distance.

This Reporter went around a number of places including pharmacies, superettes and supermarkets and noted that these safety precautions are strictly being observed.

Compliance pleasing

This Reporter also noted that the owners and workers at these outlets wore face masks and hand gloves and offered EFTPOS machines covered, replaced after each transaction.

All supermarkets, superettes and dairies must follow all other regulations in force, including no sales policy related to cooked food and provisions contained in the Essential Services list.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has continuously emphasised against panic buying assuring that there is plenty of items available in the country.

Importers of Indian food and household items have told Indian Newslink that they are also well-stocked and that retailers should not hike the prices of essential commodities.

However a word of caution: The situation can evolve and regulations may change.

Please visit the following website for updates:

www.covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses/

Warning to wrongdoers

We understand that a few Indian grocery and spice traders have raised the price of some times.

Readers are requested to please advise us with proof by email to venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz so that we can alert the concerned authorities, including the Police who are monitoring these outlets.

Our Special Request

Please take care of yourself and those around you.

Please adopt the Indian traditional style of folded hands (‘Namaste’) instead of shaking hands to greet people.

Our country’s safety and good health rests on our hands.

Together, we can and will come out of this health crisis stronger and better as New Zealanders.

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