8 Jul 2020

'Do us a solid, follow the rules' - Countdown supermarket

From Checkpoint, 6:07 pm on 8 July 2020

The visit of a man with Covid-19 to an Auckland supermarket has taken an emotional toll on the store workers, says the chain.

Countdown supermarket on Victoria Street in central Auckland.

Countdown supermarket on Victoria Street in central Auckland. Photo: Google Maps

The Countdown supermarket in central Auckland was closed today as a precaution after a positive Covid-19 case entered its doors.

A 32-year-old man escaped from managed isolation at the Stamford Hotel last night and visited a supermarket before testing positive for Covid-19 today.

Countdown spokesperson Kiri Hannifin told Checkpoint they were in a bit of a fright after finding out, although the risk was low and the store was shut for cleaning.

"We haven't traded all day but mostly it's an emotional toll for our team, we had a 12 [people] team on the floor last night when this guy came, but we also had six nightfill team who we're also asking to self-isolate, so 18 altogether."

They will be tested on Friday as precaution, Hannifin said.

"It's disappointing … it's really regrettable. I'm very sorry for our team, I feel so sad for them."

The man had slipped past security at the hotel after being mistaken for a fencing contractor. But Hannifin said he didn't look like a contractor from his attire.

He had spent 20 minutes in the store, she said, the majority of the time - about 14 minutes - in the health and beauty isle.  

"After that he kind of wanders around the store, generally looking around and then he's at the [self] checkout for about 90 seconds.

"He had a phone with him and he was taking photos with the phone."

When asked if those were selfies, she said yes. He ended up buying toothpaste, body wash and razors, she said.

Upon reviewing security footage, she said they noted he had not interacted with customers or staff, but customers were briefly within 1m of the man during his time there as they passed him.

"We are confident, and the ministry of health is confident, that the risk is very, very small."

In a message to people isolating, she said: "Do us a solid and follow the rules."