As part of wider changes to the Covid-19 framework, Retail NZ wants the Government to either tighten or remove its mask rules.
Retail NZ chief executive Grewg Harford welcomed the news that vaccine passes and QR code scanning would no longer be required in cafes and close personal services like hairdressers and beauty services.
“Moving to a greater sense of normality, is a good thing for the retail sector, including shops, cafes, hairdressers and beauty services. Many customers have been reluctant to get out to the shops over the past several months, out of a fear of Covid,” he said.
“However, the continued requirement for customers to wear masks, while effectively making them optional via an incredibly loose self-exemption process, creates significant tension, and a flashpoint of aggression for many customers.”
Masks will no longer be required at outdoor venues, but will continue to be required indoors unless a person has a valid medical exemption. Reported rates of abuse towards retail workers doubled between 2019 and 2020, and have doubled again over the last year, Harford said.
Retail NZ has been campaigning for the Government to introduce a proper process for managing mask exemptions, including official medical certificates.
“If the Government truly believes masks remain important, then it needs to tighten up significantly on the exemption process. Equally, if masks are no longer required as an effective tool to manage Covid-19, then the Government should simply make them optional.”