20/08 Countdown COVID-19 update: Store hours to change from tomorrow, temporary store closures, team bonus and benefits announced

Countdown has announced nationwide store trading hour changes, some temporary Auckland store closures, and a 10% bonus for its frontline team as the country looks to enter its fourth day at Alert Level four tomorrow.

From tomorrow, Saturday, 21 August, trading hours across Countdown stores nationwide will change to 8am to 9pm, to help give teams time to restock shelves and meet the high levels of demand being seen across the network.

Four Auckland stores will further reduce their trading hours due to having team members isolating after COVID-19 positive visits to those stores: Countdown Lynfield (8am-6pm), Takapuna (8am-6pm), Lincoln Road (9am-6pm) and Botany (9am-6pm). Countdown Birkenhead will remain closed until 31 August due to having team members isolating from across several different shifts.

Countdown’s central Auckland Metro stores in Albert Street and Halsey Street will also temporarily close from Sunday, 22 August to allow team from these locations to provide support in other larger stores that are seeing increased demand since the lockdown began.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability Kiri Hannifin says while the store closures will be frustrating for some customers, it’s a reality of the environment that many essential services are operating in.

“A number of our stores are locations of interest and our team are isolating, which we absolutely support. At the same time, we’re looking at how we can best allocate our team across our stores to ensure we’re also keeping our communities fed. This may mean further stores close or reduce their hours as all our teams pull together to help out,” says Kiri Hannifin.

Countdown has also announced it will pay an Alert Level 4 lockdown bonus to its waged permanent part-time and full-time, fixed term and casual team members in its supermarkets, meat plant, customer care team and supply chain, in recognition of the essential role they are playing in keeping Kiwis safe and fed. The bonus will be the equivalent of an additional 10 per cent more per hour worked at Alert Level 4.

“Since COVID-19 first hit last year, our team has proven time and time again just how essential they are. As well as paying our frontline teams more, we’re also supporting any of our team members whom the government has deemed high risk (including those over 70, immune-deficient and those with serious chronic illness) so they can stay home and not worry about work.

“We’re continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health and local DHBs as well to roll-out the vaccine to our team as quickly and safely as possible,” says Kiri Hannifin.

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