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Unite Union today called for Pizza shops, other takeaways and non-essential retailers to be told they need to close.

Dominoes have announced they will remain open delivery and have even turned the announcement into a publicity stunt, offering free pizza to the elderly. We are hearing reports that Hell Pizzas intend to continue operating and staff told they must show up to work.

There will be marginal calls as to what is “essential”. This is not one of them.

The rules are actually clear:

“Any entity involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people, but not takeaway shops"

Firstly these are clearly takeaway shops. Just shifting to delivery only cannot be a way around that, otherwise every restaurant and takeaway could just convert to delivery only and keep operating. That would be a disaster.

Pizzas are clearly not essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people. Supermarkets are open and there are plenty of ready to eat options available (including fresh and frozen pizzas that just need to be heated).

What they are proposing is socially irresponsible, a danger to workers and undermines the lockdown.

It will be almost impossible to maintain proper protections and social distancing in a pizza kitchen. We have many complaints normally about food and worker safety in Pizza shops and have very little confidence that the heightened and very prescriptive needs during this crisis will be met consistently. They may try and claim they offer contactless delivery, but for every pizza delivered a number of staff have to work together.

In the interests of the whole country they should use the government subsidy to pay their staff their normal pay and send them home during the crisis. We can eat pizza later.

If they flout the lockdown they should be closed, prosecuted and their right to continue operating in New Zealand revoked.

Submitted by

Mike Treen

Written 24/3/2020