Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: Wed, May 27 10:49am

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Store hours and Customer Care:

At Alert Level 2, all our stores will go back to their normal opening time. Check the opening hours for your local store here.

Our closing times have been extended to 9pm, or 10pm for those stores which used to be open until 10pm or later.

These changes mean we’ll also be stopping the priority shopping hour for emergency services and medical personnel. It was our pleasure to offer this when it was needed most, and we’ll review whether it’s needed again if there are any changes to alert levels in the future.

To keep our team and customers safe, we’ll continue to monitor the number of people in our stores, and our physical distancing and strict hygiene stays in place. Most of our stores don’t have queues now and where there are queues, these are moving pretty fast, which is great.

At Alert Level 2, our store opening times will go back to normal. This means we’ll be stopping the priority shopping hour for emergency services and medical personnel. It was our pleasure to offer this when it was needed most, and we’ll review whether it’s needed again if there are any changes to alert levels in the future.

We’ll keep monitoring the number of people in our stores as we have through Alert Levels 3 and 4, and we have extra cleaning and sanitising continuing throughout the day, on top of our usual cleaning.

Where you can, please keep sending one person, per family to shop. We know this won’t always be possible with people returning to work and school, so if you need to bring your children with you please make sure you physically distance your bubble from other shoppers.

Please continue to keep yourself and others safe by keeping a two metre gap between others when shopping in our stores.

We’ll keep monitoring the number of people in our stores as we have through Alert Levels 3 and 4.

The great news is that with increased store hours and plenty of online delivery and Pick up capacity, we are seeing few, if any, queues and they are moving really quickly. 

Countdown Northwest in Auckland will also re-open to all customers on Thursday, and Countdown Moorhouse in Christchurch will re-open on Monday 18th after both were temporarily converted to online-only to help meet the high demand we saw in the early stages of Alert Level 4.

Our team in Countdown Rototuna are also very excited to be opening our new store for the community to shop in on 26 May. 

Our Tauranga and Grey Lynn stores are still online only stores for the time being, but we’ll keep customers updated on any changes.

The advice we continue to receive from the Ministry of Health is that people who are 70 years old or older, who are immune-compromised or have chronic illnesses should stay at home.  We know this is tough for many people and to help, we’ve launched a Priority Assistance Service which provides dedicated delivery times for customers who most need access to online shopping at this incredibly challenging time. For more information on this see here.

We're also in contact with a range of charities and social agencies; this is a constantly-changing situation and we're monitoring this closely.  We’re also in contact with a range of organisations throughout New Zealand such as CCS to make sure people who are in most in-need are aware of this service. 

Anyone who can shop in our stores should do so, so that we can make sure online delivery is for those who most need it.

We're encouraging our teams to use their discretion and to actively look out for people in queues who might need support, to ensure they can get into the supermarket as quickly as possible. We want to try and keep any queues fast-moving and fair so that we're limiting any conflict as much as possible. We'd also encourage customers to look out for customers who might need support too.

We understand your frustration and appreciate your patience at this incredibly busy time.  We’re currently experiencing an unprecedented amount of calls and our team is working hard to help all of our customers as quickly as possible. Please continue to treat our team with kindness and empathy, we’re all doing our best to help during this challenging time.

Contactless payment limit increase:

To help prevent customers from having to use keypads on eftpos machines, the limit for contactless payments has temporarily increased from $80 to $200. This means whether customers are picking up a few bits and pieces, or doing a bigger shop, they can pay without needing to touch the eftpos keypad.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we’re putting in place a range of measures including regularly cleaning our baskets and trolleys and closing every second checkout, limiting the number of customers in stores at any one time, and installing plexiglass screens to ensure good physical distancing.

Increasing the contactless payment limit means we can also help customers avoid having to touch the keypads on eftpos machines so often.

If your bank has adjusted their contactless payment limit, this will happen automatically when you tap your card on the eftpos machine.

Some smaller banks like TSB haven’t been able to increase their contactless limit. If you have any questions about the new limit should contact their bank directly.

Pick up:

Customers picking up orders should now wait in a Pick Up customer queue, which will be clearly signposted at each of our stores. Our team will then take your name and contact the online team to collect your prepared order from inside the store and bring it out for you.

We’d ask that customers waiting in either the Pick Up queue or the regular store queue still keep maintaining their physical distance from each other to help keep themselves and others safe and healthy.

To minimise time in store when you Pick up your order we have temporarily paused our Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) option. All orders will be packed into paper bags.

We’ve temporarily introduced a minimum order value of $50 for pick up orders to ensure we’re prioritising customers who are doing their full shop and to make sure our team are working as efficiently as possible.

Online Delivery:

We’ve worked hard to make more online delivery and Pick up slots available for our customers - including those people using our Priority Assistance service, which we will continue in Level 2.

In many areas, same-day delivery or Pick up windows are available for everyone once more. We’ve really appreciated the patience of our customers as we’ve worked to meet the massive demand during lockdown.

We are seeing more demand for some items, but we’ll do our best to deliver everything on your shopping list. If we're unable to do so, please make sure you’ve selected ‘Allow Substitutions’ so that we can find you the best alternative.

On the night of delivery, you'll receive an order receipt via email, which will state any unavailable items or substitutions made. Unavailable items will not be charged.

 

You are not charged for items you order until we have picked and processed your groceries for delivery. If a product you have requested is out of stock, you will be notified via email that it will not be included in your order and you will not be charged. You won’t need to call and request a refund.

To help look after our customers and team we have moved to a Contactless doorstep delivery service. Your driver will knock on your door, leave the groceries on your doorstep and send you a text message.

You can tell us you’re self-isolating in the checkout. On the ‘Order Review’ screen we ask you if you’re self-isolating, so just say yes, and we’ll pass that information on to your delivery driver. If you chose this option then we will not be able to bring your shopping in to your home.

We are working on ways to ensure that vulnerable customers, who need a bit more assistance, can get the help they need. We are prioritising online delivery windows to ensure that existing online customers over 65 can shop with us, and are working to expand this to other vulnerable customers who need this service for health reasons. We're also in contact with a range of charities and social agencies; this is a constantly-changing situation and we're monitoring this closely. We encourage everyone to be mindful of those people who might need a little extra help at this time.

If you’re unable to visit one of our stores, don’t have any family or neighbourhood support nearby, and are having trouble getting an urgent online delivery, the best people to contact are your local Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, who can help. For more information, visit: https://www.civildefence.govt.nz/resources/news-and-events/news/cdem-group-0800-numbers-for-supporting-communities/

Stock levels:

We’ve been working with our suppliers to make sure we’ve got plenty of the food and essentials our customers might need and we’ve now been able to remove limits from all products in our stores.

We currently have a limited supply of hand sanitiser due to the global demand, but we're working hard to source more stock. Please check at your local store for availability.

It turns out that when Kiwis are in lockdown, we bake! A lot. We're working as hard as we can with our suppliers to make more baking ingredients, and particularly flour and yeast, which are in really hot demand.

There is more coming in every day, so bear with us and thanks for your patience.

Product Limits:

There are now no limits on products at Countdown stores nationwide.

Physical distancing:

Physical distancing is a term used by the Ministry of Health to describe less contact between you and other people.

The advice from the Ministry is that this will help prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19. The more space there is between you and others, the harder it is for a virus to spread.

The safety of our team and our customers is our main priority.

We’re supporting the Government’s recommendations to encourage physical distancing by using tools in our stores to help people create space between themselves and others, and our team.  These include markings on floors, using the shopping trolley as a tool and closing off every second checkout and every second self-service checkout - supported by good hygiene practices.

We’re also limiting the number of customers in our stores at any one time, to ensure there is plenty of room for our customers and team to physically distance themselves from each other.

The safety of our team and our customers is our main priority and we have a number of measures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. These include:

  • Maintaining our comprehensive food quality and hygiene standards across the store.

  • A detailed cleaning programme in our stores every day, supported by increased cleaning across high traffic areas.

  • Signs in stores to encourage good hygiene and care for each other

    • asking those who are self isolating to not enter the store. 

    • sharing guidance on common hygiene and physical distancing. 

    • advising to use the size of a trolley as a distance guide between each other.

  • Floor marking distance guides at checkouts.

  • Recommending customers use Paywave where possible.

 

Where you can, please keep sending one person, per family to shop. We know this won’t always be possible with people returning to work and school, so if you need to bring your children with you please make sure you physically distance your bubble from other shoppers.

Please continue to keep yourself and others safe by keeping a two metre gap between others when shopping in our stores.

All New Zealanders need to take responsibility to follow the Government’s advice and maintain physical distancing, whether that’s inside a supermarket or waiting in line to go into one

We are trying to support this with a number of measures in store. These include closing every second checkout and self service checkout, putting markings on the floor to help with distancing, and installing perspex screens at the checkout.

Ultimately, we need customers to help us out too by remembering to maintain physical distancing and protect each other’s bubbles.

 

Health and safety:

We’re reinforcing our good hygiene measures as well sharing Ministry of Health guidelines with our team.  We increased our regular store cleaning as a precautionary measure.

We also have hand sanitiser at the entries to our stores nationwide, as well as for our team and online delivery drivers.

We’re doing everything we can to keep our customers and team healthy and safe. 

While we’re passionate about reducing single-use plastic, we’ve decided to temporarily stop accepting BYO containers. 

The safety and health of our team is our priority. Across our business we have taken the opportunity to review our processes and are reinforcing our normal hygiene measures, sharing Ministry of Health guidelines on prevention and regularly communicating with our team across multiple channels about how to stay safe and healthy.

We have also put a range of measures in place that are designed to keep both our team and our customers safe and healthy. These include encouraging customers shopping in our stores to use their trolley as a distance guide and to follow new floor markings at checkouts. We’re also creating perspex screens to be put in place at checkouts, service counters and pharmacies. We’ll also be putting up posters across the store to provide our customers and teams with helpful tips to minimise contact with others.

Other recommendations include using Paywave where possible and maintaining strict hand-washing routines prior to coming into our stores. 

We’re following the government’s requirements around self-isolation for any of our team members who are returning to New Zealand from overseas travel (and have done since the China restrictions were first put in place).

The health and safety of our customers and team is our utmost priority. We’re continuing to reinforce our good hygiene measures as well as sharing Ministry of Health guidelines with our team. These can be found here.

Supporting our suppliers:

We also want to be there to support the smaller manufacturers, farmers and growers that supply us during these challenging times. We have a range of different support options and will be working through these with suppliers directly as needed.

Supporting our team:

The safety, health and wellbeing of our team is our main priority. It’s really important that we look after our people; supermarkets are an essential service and our stores will be open each day.

In addition to the safety measures we’ve put in place in our stores, we’re also ensuring that those of our team who are over 70 years old, who are vulnerable, or who need to take time off to look after their children can stay at home, and that they are able to shop for their own families too.

We are very grateful to our team members and suppliers who are working tirelessly to do the best job possible. Please continue to respect and support our team members, particularly if a product isn’t available or the checkout queues are longer than normal.

All of our waged supermarket and distribution team members working during the lockdown will be paid a bonus equivalent to an additional 10 per cent more per hour worked in recognition of the essential service they’re providing New Zealanders at this challenging time.

We’ve been paying any team who have been required to self-isolate due to travel since February, and also paying any team whom the government has deemed to be high risk to Covid-19 including those over 70, immune deficient and those with serious chronic illness.

We’ve also increased our team discount for food and groceries from 5 per cent to 10 per cent and are continuing to provide all our frontline and DC team with meals during any of their shifts.

Priority Assistance service:

(See all Priority Assistance service FAQs here)

For some people, online delivery is the only way they will be able to access essential food and groceries, as the country responds to Covid-19.

The Priority Assistance service provides dedicated delivery times for customers  who the government has recommended to stay at home as much as possible.

We’ve based eligibility for Priority Assistance on the government’s guidelines around those who are most at risk:

  • People over 70 years of age

  • People undergoing treatment for cancer and or with blood conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

  • People with chronic illnesses including respiratory conditions, heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes where these illnesses or conditions prevent you from going to the supermarket.

  • People who are in mandatory self-isolation after returning from travel or coming into contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19.