Panicked customers queue outside a gun shop in face masks as they stock up on weapons amid the coronavirus pandemic
- Droves of New Zealanders have flocked to gun retailers to panic buy weapons
- It comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated non-essential shops will close
- Police said they are aware of the queues and are ‘monitoring the situation’
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Shoppers have queued outside a gun shop to stock up on weapons as the coronavirus pandemic forces all non-essential businesses to close.
Dozens of New Zealanders flocked to weaponry retailers after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that non-essential businesses would close for at least four weeks from 11:59pm on Wednesday.
The restrictions come as New Zealand escalates its COVID-19 alert level from three to four in response to the country witnessing a large increase in confirmed coronavirus cases in recent days.
A video sent to NewsHub shows dozens of people snaking around the Gun City building in Wairau Park, on Auckland’s North Shore, to collect guns and ammunition.
A long line was pictured outside the Penrose Gun City store on Tuesday as panic buyers stocked up on weapons
Further south, in central Auckland, similar scenes were captured outside the Gun City outlet in Penrose.
Photos showing a long row of customers lining the building, standing about a metre apart to comply with social distancing measures.
Auckland man Ralph Klis said the lines resembled those outside discount food warehouse PAK’nSAVE in the thick of the panic-buying madness.
He added that scenes of fear-driven behaviour were a disappointing sight as the country battles a crisis.
‘Amongst great New Zealanders there would be always exceptions,’ Mr Klis wrote on Facebook Tuesday.
‘The ones queuing up like crazy for toilet papers and the ones massively queuing up for… guns.
‘Gun shop next door is busy like I’ve never seen before. Sad times New Zealand, truly sad times.’
News of the upgrade on Wednesday spurred panic, with kiwis also scrambling to supermarkets to stockpile supplies, despite the stores remaining open as an ‘essential service’.
Police said they are aware of the queues and are ‘currently monitoring the situation’.
The gun chain -pictured during quieter times- has become the latest target of panic buying, joining supermarkets, pharmacies and liquor stores
‘Police attended this morning between 7am and 8am, and provided reassurance advice to both members of public and staff at the store,’ a statement sent to Newshub read.
‘Our priority as police is to keep all New Zealanders safe, and we want to remind people not to panic in this unprecedented time, maintain a safe distance from others, look after one another and stay safe.’
Under alert level four, schools have been closed and public transport and air travel are only permitted for essential services – the only businesses permitted to remain open.
On Tuesday, 40 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New Zealand, bringing the country’s total to 155.