Loan and Merc in limbo

There is little sign one of Oamaru's best-known restaurants will be reopening to the public on a regular basis. The Loan and Merc Tavern and Eating House was due to reopen after a winter break in August, but was still closed this week.

Restaurant owner Fleur Sullivan said the premises had been opened on Waitangi Day ''to support the town'' during the Scott 100 commemorations, but although she hoped to keep the bar open, the a-la-carte restaurant would not reopen until it was possible to get ''the right staff in the right places''.

However, both the building and catering would be available for weddings and private functions, Ms Sullivan said. The building is owned by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust.