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Supermarkets to stay open Easter Sunday, but close Easter Friday to give workers a 'well-earned break'

Supermarkets can stay open for Easter Sunday, but not Good Friday during the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown. 

Supermarkets will stay open. Source: istock.com

This is to allow workers to take a break during the coronavirus lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. 

She said the decision was about striking a balance, and was heavily weighted towards avoiding people rushing to the supermarket ahead of time, if both days were to be closed. 

Ms Ardern asked for the public to also "please be kind to the people who work there, they are doing an incredible job". 

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The Government made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

"It is also important that workers are able to take a break during this busy period after doing an incredible job during such difficult times, so supermarkets will stay closed on Good Friday," Minister of Workplace Relations Iain Lees-Galloway said today.

"Given most supermarkets are normally closed on Easter Sunday, it is important that employees know they still have the right to refuse to work that day," he said.

"I am sure that employers will act fairly to those who don’t want to work and want a well-earned break."

Today, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced there were 58 new coronavirus cases in New Zealand today, bringing the national total to 647.

That comes after 1391 tests in the 24-hour period, Ms Ardern said.

Yesterday, Cabinet discussed if supermarkets would continue to operate during Easter Trading. The decision whether many shops could trade during Easter usually lies in the hands of councils. Generally, most supermarkets close Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

"We are continuing to liaise with operators," Ms Ardern said. "It's very important we also have the view of those working in supermarket chains."

She said the need to restock shelves was a contributing factor in having the days off, and said that dairies would remain open.