After a thorough risk assessment and some difficult discussions last night, we have decided that we will close our milk vending shed as soon as today's (Tuesday's) milk has sold out. Judging by the demand of the last couple of days, this may happen sometime in the evening today.
This was not an easy decision!
We could have considered ourselves an essential service... and initially we had all intention to continue our milk vending operation. We saw that you were coming here more often than usual - perhaps because the supermarkets shelves were stripped bare of regular milk or perhaps you were stocking up on this precious commodity.
We were making for the first time in months a nice little profit to give to Riverside's Trust charitable purposes, and for a couple of days it looked like everyone was gaining something good from our continued operation. You had access to milk, we kept getting an income, our profit was supporting other charities. YAY, right?!
BUT then the situation evolved into something much bigger than we had anticipated. The Prime Minister offered some truly sobering thoughts on what could be ahead of us and NZ's alert level increased.
Last night, our team shared some hard truths with one another. We asked ourselves: 'How could we ensure social distancing of 2 metres in the shed?', 'Were we confident that each and every customer would wash their hands extremely well before they entered the shed?', 'Was everyone going to disinfect every surface they came into contact with?', 'How could we protect our staff, some of them being in risk-groups themselves?' etc.
The answer to all was: 'We couldn't be certain and we couldn't ensure anything, really.'
Reality is that we have many elderly customers and that some of you will have pre-existing medical conditions or have loved ones in your household who are vulnerable to experience more serious complications from Covid-19.
Some of you may not have to worry so much about what lies ahead, but what about the person next in line? What about the customer who will get their milk after you? What about their loved ones?
In times of such great uncertainties, we cannot justify adding to the load of unknown variables. We wish for you all to be as safe and as protected as possible.
Therefore we have to close!
We will be back to selling milk once it is safe to do so for everyone at the vending shed. This is not a heart-wrenching 'Good Bye!' but rather a 'See you later, friends', hollered across the neighbour's fence, from 2 metres away, with a little moisture in our eyes, from the harsh wind blowing into our faces 😶
Much love to all of you and all your loved ones! xxxx
Daisy on behalf of the Riverside Milk Team and Riverside Community Trust Board