Hospitality sector keen for Level 1 changes

Speight’s Ale House owner Mark Scully. Photo: ODT
Speight’s Ale House owner Mark Scully. Photo: ODT
It will be up to the customer "to make sure they are looking after themselves" in Covid-19 Alert Level 1, Hospitality New Zealand says - and "business as usual" cannot come soon enough for recovering southern hospitality providers.

Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White said the Government’s announcement last month about rules for Level 2 were "really confusing".

But yesterday, when a move to Level 1 as early as Wednesday was signalled by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, she said Level 1 would be "a lot simpler" and the industry was "ecstatic".

Customers would no longer need to be seated, have a single server, or be separated.

And the onus would no longer be on the business to track who had come through the doors.

"This is going to turn into every New Zealander participating," she said.

"When you go into maybe a retail shop, or a hospitality shop, or somewhere ‘other’ it will be [up to] you as a Kiwi to make sure that you look after yourself and that you check in. It’s no longer going to be compulsory for the business to ensure that they’re tracing — it’s now back to the individual."

The Craic Irish Tavern owner Claire Grenfell, said Level 2 in Dunedin had been "challenging" but customers were "really good" and worked with the business to follow the guidelines it received from the hospitality association.

"I’m sure I could speak for everyone in the industry. We’re very excited about moving to the prospect of moving to Level 1 from a financial perspective - for our businesses.

"Just to be able to get back to our live music, and DJ and dance floor, it can’t come a day too soon."

Speight’s Ale House owner Mark Scully said there had been a lack of consistency between establishments around the region that would be erased in Level 1 and the requirement for seated groups had "been a real challenge".

"I think the seated thing has taken away the ‘real Kiwi, go to the pub with your mates, stand and have a beer’ mentality — I think it is definitely scaring people off.

"The sooner we get back to everyone’s doing what they normally do will be wonderful."

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment referred questions on changes in Alert Level status to the Ministry of Health.

And the Ministry of Health did not immediately reply to a request for comment yesterday.

However, yesterday RNZ reported Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield urged businesses that were not routinely contact tracing to ``get with the programme", and said the Ministry of Health was considering implementing a requirement for businesses to do so.


"The sooner we get back to everyone’s doing what they normally do will be wonderful." Of course. But has anyone noticed that its the health professionals that are holding back? I know who I'd rather listen to, the health sector and scientists, not the booze businesses or ODT headings.

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