Care taken as bars reopen

Customers of Dunedin bars had a cautious but cheerful reintroduction to socialising with the aid of alcohol.

The sector joined restaurants, cafes and the rest of New Zealand in a more relaxed Alert Level 2 yesterday and, in the early evening, the transition looked to be managed carefully.

Several bar patrons remained wary of Covid-19 and were reassured by customers’ measured comeback.

University of Otago history department colleagues Jeff Roger and Violeta Gilberta were at Dunedin Social Club.

Mr Roger felt a bit unnerved about being out in town again.

"It’s a slightly jarring shift."

But yesterday evening was nowhere near as busy as a pre-Covid-19 Thursday and people were being careful to maintain physical distancing.

"The staff are handling things brilliantly," he said.

Dr Gilberta said thought and effort had gone into managing the transition.

"It gives a real sense of confidence, that we’re not being reckless."

Peter Kerse, from Cromwell, said he had two beers and ordered a meal at Ratbags.

Not everyone was being careful to keep their distance, he said, but the Government had handled the coronavirus crisis well and the lockdown was necessary.

TransDiesel sales representatives Mark Hopwood and Daryl Harper, from Invercargill, were relieved about a return to a degree of normality.

"It’s been a long time to be cooped up at home," Mr Harper said.

 - By Grant Miller

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