Monday, 6 Dec 2021

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Auckland mall owner ‘disappointed’ about waiting extra week for alert level 3.2

One of Auckland’s largest malls is ready to open today and its owner is disappointed that it has to wait a week.

Dallas Pendergrast, who with husband Ross owns the North Shore’s Glenfield Mall, challenged the premise that shops needed a week to prepare to reopen.

Speaking on the Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast today and asked about demand and if she was expecting to be bowled over, she said: “Yes we are. Absolutely. We’re geared up for a really busy time. We’re geared up for Christmas. We will be in Christmas when we open next week.

Prendergast challenged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s statement yesterday that shops would need a week to prepare to reopen after around 11 weeks shut.

“No, we’re ready to open today actually and we’re very disappointed we have to wait another week,” Pendergrast told Hosking today.

“We’ve been geared up ever since the beginning really, we’ve done it all before. We know what we’re doing. We’ve got our signage up, we’ve got sanitisers, we’ve got distancing rules in place, we’ve got QR codes, we’ve got everything ready to go and have done for a long time.

She also told what Aucklanders could expect when they returned to big shopping centres like Glenfield.

“We will be fully decorated with all the Christmas decorations and we’ll have Christmas carols playing. We’ll be really ready for a big Christmas rush.”

Fatigued Aucklanders who have endured 11 weeks of lockdown will be given new freedoms next week despite the number of community Covid-19 cases tipped to peak later this month.

Cabinet has made an in-principle decision to move Auckland to step 2 of level 3 from next Tuesday at 11.59pm, Ardern said yesterday.

Gyms remain closed in step 2 but outdoor fitness classes are still allowed. Classes like yoga and boot camp can now have a maximum of 25 people, including instructors, with 2m distance between people.

In step 2, retail can open as long as customers keep 2m apart and staff and customers are required to wear face coverings.

“We not only have to wait for this week but we’re also faced with close contact tenants [staying shut], for heaven’s sake, having to wait.

“We’ve got about 15 that fall into that category – hairdressers, nail bars and a mini-gym for kids, all of those things aren’t able to open.

“That’s disappointing, it just seems ridiculous when they tell us that cases are going up and vaccinations are coming down. What’s going to be different in a week’s time?

No tenant in the mall had suffered a financial failure, she said.

“We’re lucky but we have been supporting our tenants through these last few weeks. Everybody’s stuck together and they are going to be able to open, those that are allowed to.”

Given there was no vaccine application, she said mask-wearing will be compulsory and contract tracing was a key element.

“We have contact tracing at every entrance [to the mall] and entrance to every shop,” she said.

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