The retail meat industry is asking for urgent clarification from the government regarding the status of independent butcher stores and their classification as an ‘essential service’.
They say there is significant confusion amongst members of the meat industry to help fight the spread of the virus whilst ensuring communities are fed.
They point out that the recommendations from the government helpline stated that the covid19.govt.nz website is the best source of information regarding ‘essential services’ and currently states that: Any entity involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people.
However, since Paul Stocks – Deputy CEO of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) – stated this morning on Newstalk ZB that butcheries and produce stores would not be considered an ‘essential service’, the representatives of the retail meat industry argue that other factors that would need to be considered include:
- Will independent butcheries who currently supply rest homes be able to continue to operate to ensure the elderly are kept in supply?
- Some independent butcheries supply halal certified meat to the Islamic community, will consumers be able to continue to buy halal meat?
- Will small communities and towns without access to supermarkets still be able to buy from their local butchery?
The retail meat industry is urging the government is to provide the industry with clear guidelines on which stores can and cannot open past midnight tonight.