2 September, 2021
Butchers constrained while supermarkets busy
North Shore butchers say they are getting strong support from customers who want to be able to shop in-store.
“Our customers would ideally like to see us open, or at least offering the option of contactless collection,” says Milford butcher Todd Treadwell.
“This way they can collect their meat at the same time they pop out for their other grocery staples, and it will reduce pressure on our delivery network, meaning we can help serve more people, more quickly.”
Butchers – along with greengrocers and bakeries – are restricted under alert-level 4 to offering only contactless deliveries, through online or phone ordering.
North Shore MP Simon Watts says the regulations should have been revisited.
Treadwell says his permitted Well Hung delivery service is “frantic”. It did not have enough time slots to satisfy as many customers as it would be able to over the counter.
Frustrated Hauraki butcher Ray Crawley took matters into his own hands last month, opening his Village Butcher for several days in breach of regulations. Police visited on 24 August and told him to shut his doors, which he has done. He was warned, but not fined. So was a fruit shop.
“Why not let the small shops open?” he asks, echoing calls made by his customers online and during lockdowns in 2020.
These allow supermarkets and dairies to trade, but are designed to limit person-to-person contact by keeping other stores shut for pick-ups until level-3.
Crawley says he has received a lot of community support. “It’s disappointing that someone felt the need to dob us in,” he says.
The Hauraki situation is exacerbated by the temporary closing of the Countdown supermarket next door to Crawley’s butchery to divert staff to other bigger supermarkets, where staff have been required to isolate after Covid-19 exposure.
This “herded” locals up to the struggling bigger supermarkets to queue, he said. “We’re trying to look after ourselves and look after everyone else as well.”
Even police, whom he had no issue with, had seemed sympathetic, he said.
Crawley said he had supported the first lockdown, but thought authorities had dropped the ball. He has not set up an online ordering system, but is taking phone orders.
Well Hung at Milford has been more proactive, even marketing meat packs for Father’s Day through its website.
Executive butcher Treadwell said staff were working hard to distribute orders. But he would like to be able to open.
“If I look around Milford, where we are based, there are a number of supermarkets, greengrocers and mini marts open and serving customers, yet our doors are closed.”
Support from local shoppers was amazing and staff were working extremely hard under challenging circumstances. Suppliers were also keeping goods coming.
Police told the Observer they were doing “reassurance patrols” in the community. They did not supply details of numbers of infringements. (Details of the regulations are on covid19.govt.nz).
* To support local stores check if your favourites are able to deliver or consider ordering a voucher or gift card to use later. Takapuna Beach Business Association has compiled a list of its members doing this, see www.ilovetakapuna.co.nz
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