Countdown is set to offer rent relief to support small businesses with shops inside their supermarkets or shopping centres, and open an hour early for emergency services and medical personnel across the country amid the nationwide lockdown.
The package will be offered to 54 of their tenants, including cafes, travel agencies, hairdressers, takeaway outlets, real estate agencies and restaurants, Countdown managing director Natalie Davis said in a statement.
All eligible small and non-trade suppliers selling food and other essentials to Countdown will also be paid every fortnight for the foreseeable future due to the financial impact of Covid-19, she said.
Ms Davis said small businesses play an important role in New Zealand’s economy and communities, particularly in smaller towns.
“We know that small businesses right across the country are doing it tough at the moment and we want to do our bit to help them out. By paying our small suppliers fast for the products they’re supplying us, and providing rent relief for 54 non-essential businesses within our stores and shopping centres, we hope this can help ease some of the pressure they will be facing,” she said.
“We know the outlook will continue to be extremely tough for many of our retail partners and small businesses in the coming months, and we are committed to helping ensure they can bounce back from this.”
The rent relief package will apply to the four-week Level 4 alert lockdown and will be reviewed if it is extended.
From Thursday, Countdown stores across the country will also open at 8am to provide a priority shopping hour each day for uniformed emergency services and medical personnel. The stores will then open for the general public from 9am to 8pm.
The priority hour will apply for emergency service workers wearing their uniform, or any DHB, medical centre or medical professional carrying proper identification.
They will also lift limits on a range of food items to allow customers to make less frequent shopping trips, including fruit and vegetables, meat, deli, seafood and Countdown’s Easter range.