Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says a coffee shop owner banning recent managed isolation leavers from his store is "potentially infringing people’s rights".
His comments come after Nelson's Zumo café owner Allen Chambers is taking a tough stance.
Stuff reported yesterday that Chambers has signs around his cafe announcing anyone who left managed isolation less than 10 days ago is not permitted to enter the premises. The ban also extending to returnees’ close contacts.
“We run a social business with customers who can be vulnerable – elderly, infirm, pregnant. I'm surprised that there's not more of a reaction amongst business owners," Chambers, who began the ban after the recent Northland community case, told Stuff.
Today, Hipkins was asked about the owner's stance at the 1pm briefing.
“I don’t think people should be making up their own set of rules here," Hipkins said. "This is the same response I have given to all of these sorts of things where people take their own initiative and do things that are potentially infringing on other people’s rights and freedoms.
“We are working very hard to keep our team of five million all rowing in the same direction. And while I do understand the anxiety and the concern, we wouldn’t be releasing people from managed isolation if we thought there was a risk they were bringing Covid-19 into the community."
He added that of the "100,000-plus people" who have left managed isolation, the Government has only dealt with a handful of incidents which "we have been able to contain very, very quickly".
When asked if extra measures upon leaving managed isolation were being considered, Hipkins responded, "We are looking at the end-of-stay protocols and whether any changes should be made there."
It has been suggested people could isolate at home for a further period of time after leaving managed isolation and receive an extra test.