A top of the south milk delivery firm has had to stop its service as new coronavirus lockdown guidelines take effect.
Milk and More were gearing up to meet a surging demand for home deliveries in Nelson and Marlborough, but have had to shut down under new Government guidelines introduced at 7pm on Wednesday.
There was also confusion over the status other food outlets with some bakery, butchers and produce shops staying open on Thursday, the first day of the nationwide lockdown.
However, an MBIE spokesperson said butcher shops and vegetable shops were «not classified as essential».
«What they supply can largely also be purchased at supermarkets. This approach has been taken to prevent community transmission and to ensure people limit movement to their suburbs. We need as many businesses as possible to close to slow the spread of the virus.»
It was a similar story for Milk and More, which announced on Thursday morning that it was prohibited from continuing under the stricter guidelines.
«While the Employment Relations Act 2000 defined services involved in the production and distribution of milk products as essential, these new guidelines stipulate that home delivery of items readily available in the supermarkets is prohibited,» the company said.
Milk and More owner Trevor Nicholls said more than 3000 customers throughout Nelson and Tasman wouldn’t be waking up to their fresh milk on Thursday morning after a call from the Ministry of Transport on Wednesday evening notified the business «it wasn’t a good idea» to continue during the lock down period.
Earlier in the week, Nicholls told Stuff there had been increased demand for the service with 40 new customers signing up for deliveries of milk, eggs and juice.
He said he was «disheartened and upset» for all his customers but he was happy to take his staff and patrons out of the firing line from the risk of contracting the virus through his business.
Milk and More Marlborough owner, Mel Marshall said she was «gutted» about the unexpected notification to close but «the safety of our customers will always be most important».
The news affected 2000 customers around Blenheim, she said.
She said the milk truck had to be turned around on Wednesday night with its products.
«Any left over product will have to basically be wasted. We’re losing a lot of money, but health is more important.
Meanwhile, Nelson milk supplier Oaklands will have its milk vending machines open, including the Farm Gate at Saxton Field car park, River Kitchen Cafe and The Junction.
Oaklands owner Julian Raine said the vending machines were open with sanitisers and single-use hand towels.
«The customers have been really good. They’re maintaining a two-metre distance, they’re using the sanitisers we have there and being really responsible.»
He said the Aunt Jean’s Dairy brand of Oaklands milk would also continue its supply to supermarkets.
Raeward Fresh, a meat and fresh produce store under the Foodstuffs umbrella, remained open throughout New Zealand on Thursday, Nelson’s small produce store, Benge and Co had a sign up on Thursday morning telling customers it was «confirmed to meet criteria late Wednesday» and would be open from Friday and Connings Food Market confirmed their doors could remain open.
Nelson’s Coupland’s Bakery and The Mad Butcher were also open.