As reported on stuff.co.nz this morning:
New Zealand telco company Spark has temporarily closed its Timaru and Ashburton retail stores as it undertakes a national audit on health and safety requirements.
Spark senior communications partner Ellie Cross said in an email that the retail stores at 250 East St in Ashburton and 239 Stafford St in Timaru were closed on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, we've identified that these stores do not satisfy the Spark policy standard for earthquake resiliency, so they have been temporarily closed for the safety of our staff and customers.
"Our policy standard is more stringent than government building requirements, so we are making these closures by choice rather than by necessity."
She said Spark apologised for the inconvenience caused and the company would consider temporary accommodations in the two towns.
"We know that customers value being able to come into store and receive great service from the local teams, so we're investigating if we can open temporary premises in a safe alternative location as soon as possible, preferably in the next few weeks."
The seven Timaru and six Ashburton staff were "being relocated where possible or being assigned work that can be completed remotely", Cross said.
The two stores were a valued part of Spark's retail network and the company would remain "absolutely committed to having a Spark presence in these towns", she said.
That would be by either reopening the sites once remedial work was completed or by opening at a new location.
Customers were urged to contact Spark by chat, phone, social media or by visiting another store for assistance if needed.
The nearest stores to customers in Timaru and Ashburton were Ōamaru and Christchurch respectively.
"We'd prefer not to have to close these stores so close to Christmas, but we hope that this announcement demonstrates our commitment to putting the safety of our staff and customers first," Cross said.