Silent streets — Dargaville is hushed by the lockdown, behind the scenes the supply chains for food, drink and medicine are going strong

Supply lines robust in lockdown

by Andy Bryenton

Core consumables providers are confident that their new procedures are working smoothly, with stock rolling in to fill the shelves and customers maintaining a commendable level of calm during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Chemists report good supplies of necessary prescription medication, noting that moves by the Ministry of Health to drop all prescription amounts to monthly levels only are more of an anti-hoarding precaution than a reflection of supply. Most pharmacies have reverted to providing prescription medicines only during the crisis, with an approximate two-hour wait to pick up meds as pharmacists work hard to fill prescriptions. Repeats should ideally be called in via telephone for later pick up. A comprehensive list of ways to help your pharmacist is included in a second story in this digital edition.

Meanwhile, supermarkets continue to experience queues, but only due to the rules governing the number of shoppers allowed to congregate at any time. A one in, one out policy saw the lines moving briskly at Dargaville’s Countdown Supermarket on Friday, two days into the self-isolation month mandated by the government. Security guards and a police officer on-site were a mere formality as supermarket staff reported calm and reasonable buying and a return to the shelves of items, which were in short supply last week. Dargaville’s Four Square had no queues at all, and shelves were stocked with everything from basic staples to Easter eggs. 

Families are asked to nominate a single person to do all shopping during the lockdown, and to have procedures in place to help them clean up when they arrive back home. Sterilising car keys, bank cards, etc, is advised, as is washing fresh fruit and vegetables in the sink when it’s brought home. Microbiologists reiterate that Covid-19 stays active on surfaces for a long time, so wearing gloves, which can be sterilised or disposed of, and washing hands after using communal facilities like cash machines, trundlers and door handles is vital.