Wellington Protests: Keeping our teams & customers safe in-store

Be respectful – abuse will not be tolerated

Please show our teams the respect they deserve, wear a mask if you can – and let’s be clear, anyone who is violent or abusive towards our team members or customers, for any reason whatsoever, will be asked to leave and the police will be called. 

Keeping our teams & customers safe in-store

The prevalence of unmasked people shopping in stores within the vicinity of the Wellington protests has caused disruption and distress for many of our regular customers and team members.  The teams are doing absolutely everything within their control to manage mask wearing in store – and the escalations of abuse that sometimes arise when asking unmasked customers if they’re able to wear a mask.    We recognise it’s a challenging time for many people and we ask for support and respect towards our teams who are just trying to ensure all New Zealanders have access to their grocery essentials in a safe environment.

Mask Wearing Rules – we can only ask customers if they have an exemption – we can’t enforce mask wearing

We’re doing absolutely everything within our control to manage mask wearing.  Under the current Ministry of Health guidelines and legislation, we can only ask customers if they are able to wear a mask - and we can’t refuse entry if a customer claims an exemption. We understand if some customers are legitimately mask exempt and we need to ensure they can shop safely too. 

We kindly ask that if you don’t agree with mask wearing to do your shopping and you’re not exempt, please don’t take it out on the very people tasked with making sure you have access to groceries – and show some respect for the job they’re doing and fellow customers who want and need the protection.

Similarly, if you’re the majority of people who wear a mask while shopping - and feel uncomfortable by those around you not wearing masks - please understand our teams are doing their very best to manage this in a challenging situation.

Upweighted Security & Support for teams

The safety of our teams and customers is a priority.  The Wellington New Worlds in the vicinity of the protests are in constant contact with our in-house security experts, there’s dedicated full-time security on the doors with the sole role of managing mask wearing and de-escalating any incidents that happen as a result. Senior members of the teams are trained to de-escalate incidents in-store, and security has also been increased in less visible, non-traditional ways.  

All Foodstuffs team members are also provided with access to Clearhead, an app where you can access mental health support and services and EAP.

Current Ministry of Health advice on mask wearing can be found here.