Security guards will be standing at the gates of at least one major retailer’s outlets to help handle the crowds and queues of shoppers expected to return to Auckland today.
It’s the first day of Alert Level 3, Step 2 for the city and retailers are throwing open their doors for an expected surge of pent-up demand, while many museums, zoos and libraries are gradually reopening.
Rebel Sports and Briscoes will have security at each door to manage queues and ensure that people obey the measures in step two.
The group’s managing director, Rod Duke, said they were prepared for the crowds.
“We think it’s going to be dramatically bigger than that period, so we just hired some people to make sure people are registering correctly, that they have masks, social distancing, and just a little bit of crowd control.”
Duke said the group expected thousands of clients.
“We are fully prepared, the stock moved and reloaded, all the people received their work schedules and we are ready to go. The deep cleaning was done, we have guards at all the doors, we believe that ‘We will be very busy and we are well prepared “.
Some enthusiastic shoppers lined up at Sylvia Park overnight to be the first to walk through the door for a new store opening just after midnight.
One told RNZ that she had turned up the night before to camp, but was told by security to leave due to lockdown restrictions.
Pools, cinemas, and theaters remain closed in step 2, but shopping centers can reopen.
For those looking for a dose of culture, many of Auckland’s family-friendly attractions will reopen tomorrow or later this week.
Motat can hold 100 people at a time, and the Auckland Zoo is inviting its members to book slots online starting Thursday, a partial opening while part of the zoo is under construction.
Sealife Kelly Tarltons is open tomorrow and offers pre-booked session times for 100 people at a time.
General manager Dan Henderson said that allowed them to have 500 visitors a day, up from 2,500 on a busy day before Covid-19.
“They enjoy coming to the aquarium where there is a reduced capacity, it is a quieter experience, there is more room to move.”
And there is a new star attraction in the aquarium.
“We run New Zealand’s only tortoise rehabilitation center and this tortoise turned up on Piha Beach in September so she has been recovering with us with the help of the Auckland Zoo vet team and they have affectionately named her Delta.” .
Butterfly Creek will reopen today without a fuss: It imports pupae and shipments were delayed by Covid-19, but the giant saltwater crocodiles await visitors.
Auckland Libraries will continue to offer click and collect, expanding the service to all 56 libraries starting tomorrow.
The council’s managing director of libraries and information, Mirla Edmundson, said they couldn’t reopen yet for practical reasons: They were still calculating a two-meter distance between the shelves and whether they would have enough staff on site.
“We will be watching anxiously at one o’clock to see what announcements are made around education because, as you can imagine, we have hundreds of employees and many of them are parents. We have to take into account some of those responsibilities that people has right now working from home with young children, “Edmundson said.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins will announce today whether Auckland’s primary students can return to school next week.
Since we opened 18 libraries to click and collect, avid readers have checked out more than 28,000 books and reserved 61,000.
“It is very frustrating to have a service that is loved by the locals of Auckland and not being able to offer it to its full capacity. We are here for the long term game and we are all holding out for the next few weeks and we want to be back in business as soon as we can. “Edmundson said.
On Monday, the Auckland Art Gallery and the Auckland Museum reopen.
And for those who want more of a roller coaster ride than lockdown brings, Rainbows End reopens on Friday.