Sign of the times

Mitre 10 Mega Ashburton staff members Blair Simpson and operations manager Michelle Brown manning the collect counter at the Ashburton store under Alert Level 3

Face coverings, covid scanning and hand sanitising have become the new norm under tweaked Alert Level 2 covid restrictions.

While schools opened their doors again to all students and pupils from today, businesses and organisations were still coming to terms with the new covid Level 2 restrictions, and heightened caution around the Delta variant.

The South Island has not had a community case of covid since last year, but officials are taking no chances and have added some restrictions under the lowered Alert Level 2 status, including making the wearing of face coverings in public indoors spaces mandatory (unless eating), and limiting the number of people indoors at restaurants, cafes and events to 50 people, and outdoors to 100 people.

Bookarama spokesperson David Mead said the limit of 50 was not a viable option for the annual event, so organisers had decided to push the date back hoping by the time of the new date in October, the district would be at Level 1 which would allow more people to attend.

The charity fundraiser was traditionally held alongside Ashburton’s Boulevard Day and on South Canterbury anniversary day so drew a lot of people from outside the district.

The new date for Bookarama had been set for October 18 to 23, Mr Mead said.

Some boxes for book collection were in place already with others set to be delivered over the coming days.

The Alert Level changes required some quick adaptation for those able to open; which they did last week at Level 3.

Homeware and building supplies company Mitre 10 Mega Ashburton was among businesses around the district who quickly adapted to offer a click and collect service following the move from lockdown to Level 3.

Operations manager Michelle Brown was ‘front of house’, alongside staff member Blair Simpson and others, providing customers with click and collect orders, which had been coming in thick and fast.

Mitre 10 Ashburton staff have been receiving, and processing, more than 450 orders a day through the company website or by phone for collection, she said.

‘‘We are doing our best,’’ she said, with staff in the drive-thru, in store and at inward goods catching up with products and getting them out to customers via click and collect ordering.

The nationwide change in covid restrictions to Level 3, except for Auckland, saw businesses who could operate contactless with their customers under Alert Level 3 quickly adjust their services.

Cafes and restaurants stepped up with some giving options for online ordering and home delivery or providing contactless pickup options.

Builders, roading contractors, tradies, bottlestores, stationery outlets and VTNZ were among those reopened and offering contactless services.