Public to be able to access essential goods during shutdown

Published: 30 March 2020

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has issued the following statement today:

The Government has decided that the sale of essential goods such as heaters, whiteware and computers will be allowed - in recognition of the need for people to safely isolate, stay connected to one another and work or study from home. In order to protect public safety, there are conditions around the selling of these goods. These are outlined below.

The Government indicated at the start of the shutdown that we were considering whether some products could be made available online or by phone and we have decided there are essential non-food products that people should be able to buy so they can safely isolate and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Essential goods are those that will keep people warm (heaters, blankets), replace key household appliances, and maintain people’s health. Examples of essential products are blankets, fridges, heaters and computers or tablets to work from home or do distance learning, or simply connect with people. If people can’t buy these, then we risk people venturing out of their homes more often.

Businesses must operate responsibly and only make available for sale genuine essential goods - goods that are necessities of life while ensuring we restrict the movement of people and workers to combat COVID-19.

The public must order responsibly purchasing only those items that are absolutely necessary to facilitate life and work during the lock down period.

In order to be able to sell these essential goods, businesses must:

  1. Only take orders online or by phone and keep storefronts shut.
  2. Take orders for only essential non-food goods.
  3. Home deliver all essential goods in a contactless way and not allow people to visit stores to select or collect goods.
  4. Take all appropriate public health measures to protect their staff and customers (e.g. physical distancing, hygiene basics, appropriate personal protective equipment).
  5. Notify MBIE that they meet these conditions and intend to offer essential goods for sale and provide a list of those products. See covid19.govt.nz(external link) for more information on how to do this.

MBIE has established a register to collect this information. To register, go to Business Connect https://services.businessconnect.govt.nz(external link) There’s a couple of things you’ll need to complete your registration:

If a business cannot meet these conditions, they should not offer to sell essential goods while the country is at Alert Level 4. If businesses are too generous in their interpretation of what is “essential” or flout these rules, Government will take further action.

We would like to acknowledge the support of Retail New Zealand who assisted us in developing this new approach.

We recognise it may take some time for businesses to amend their systems in order to comply with these conditions so we ask the public to be patient.

Information on Essential Services is being regularly updated on covid19.govt.nz(external link)

MBIE media contacts

Phone: 027 442 2141
Email: media@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 30 March 2020