A Hastings sex toy store’s decision to stay open during alert level 4 lockdown has puzzled many in the city, with some arguing it’s sending out the wrong sort of vibes.
When Hawke’s Bay Today visited Adult Selections on Heretaunga St West on Friday (for work purposes only), its door was open to customers, with a sign outside saying “be a devil, come inside”.
A man working at the store declined to be in a photo or comment, and also hung up on a reporter who tried to call.
Entertainment and hobby products fall under the non-essential category of consumer items and are not listed as an alert level 4 business or service.
A spokesperson for The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said workplaces can only open their premises for staff and/or customers as an alert level 4 business or service if they meet criteria defined in the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order.
“The responsibility for compliance with the rules for operating at alert level 4 lies with businesses and individuals.”
The spokesperson said if someone believes a business is not sticking to the rules, they can report it at www.covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/covid-19-compliance
Social media reaction to the store being open has been a mixture of comedic repartee and disbelief.
“That’s far from essential,” wrote several people on a local Facebook thread about the store’s opening, while another said the owner had obviously made a mistake.
But others disagreed in a tongue-in-cheek way, saying “It’s an essexual business” and argued the store was important “for the girls”.
Adult Selections is outside the membership zone for the Hastings City Business Association, however the association’s marketing manager, Emma Sey had some advice for the owner.
“If any businesses are unaware whether or not they are an essential service, they should visit the Covid-19 website.
“There is a webpage specifically around doing business at level 4, so I would recommend that if people are unsure they should visit the Government website and check Government guidelines about doing business at alert level 4.”
There’s potentially a good business case for staying open – the last lockdown started a boom in the sales of adult toys in the region.
Just down the road, Havelock North topped a NZ-wide spike in sex toy deliveries, with sales growth of 401 per cent from May 2019 to May 2021, according to data released to Hawke’s Bay Today by Adulttoymegastore earlier this year.