Retailers try hand at level 3

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By SHELLEY TOPP

The Rangiora and Kaiapoi central business districts have sprung back to life after the move to a level-3 lockdown.

After almost five weeks under strict level-4 restrictions, rules were eased allowing cafes, takeaway food restaurants and some other businesses to reopen.

But it was far from normal trading, as customers were not permitted to enter shops. Social distancing was mandatory, with contactless payment and “click and collect” rules applying.

There were queues in many places and hand sanitiser a pre-purchase prerequisite.

In Rangiora, the North Canterbury Seafood Market welcomed customers back, but not through the front door.

Instead, customers were served outside through a side window, with a wide serving table helping to maintain a safe distance.

Many other Rangiora firms were also trading again but most were operating from behind closed doors, offering online or phone-and-collect options.

Janine Rogers, who owns the North Canterbury Seafood Market with her partner Shayne Garbes, said it was good to be back in business.

“The response has been good and people are thrilled to have fresh fish back on their tables.

“It feels great to be so appreciated and it is a two-way street as we really appreciate the loyalty of our customers.”

Customers can access information about what fish is available on the North Canterbury Seafood Market’s Facebook page, website, or answerphone. They can also request a
daily email.

At work . . . Jessica Hofacher ready to serve customers under level 3 trading rules, from a side window at the North Canterbury Seafood Market. Photo: Shelley Topp

‘‘They order their fish via phone or email and then we pack it up and have it ready for them.

‘‘On arrival at the outdoor set up, they sanitise their hands, we inform them of the
price and pop it in our eftpos inside the shop and they complete the transaction on a
remote eftpos.

‘‘We place their order on the table, stand back and they take the order,’’ Janine says. ‘‘We are also keeping records of customers, as required for contact tracing.’’

In Kaiapoi, the Port and Eagle Brewpub has opened for business, as has Kaiapoi Florist and
Gifts. Most other businesses in the town, including Blackwells Department Store, are also open for business but trading from behind closed doors by offering online and/or phone-order options.

Andrew Blackwell, of Blackwells Department Store, says trading is ‘‘pretty restricted’’ under
level-3.

‘‘We are not able to open the doors to the public until we reach Covid-level two, so trading is limited but at least we are all heading in the right direction now.
‘‘If everybody plays their part in fighting off the virus it shouldn’t be too long before a new
normality is reached,’’ he says.

‘‘What that will be at this stage is unknown.’’