Positive test forces restaurant to close its doors

Filadelfio’s Pizza owner Logan Beck puts up the closed sign after a staff member tested positive...
Filadelfio’s Pizza owner Logan Beck puts up the closed sign after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY

That was how Filadelfio’s Pizza owner Logan Beck described the feeling of having to close his business for a week.

The Dunedin restaurant was forced to shut its doors on Tuesday after one of its staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The employee worked on Saturday, unknowingly infectious with the virus, which meant that everyone else who was working at the North East Valley site at the same time was deemed a close contact.

Mr Beck is one of many business owners struggling with the reality of what Omicron means for their operations.

Other businesses spoken to in Dunedin’s city centre said it was noticeably quieter as the virus spread around the city.

The hospitality sector was not included in the Government’s critical close contact scheme earlier this month, which meant staff had to isolate for seven days as well as return a negative test before returning to work.

Yesterday, the Government announced that only household contacts of the Covid-19 case would be required to isolate as the country went into Phase 3 of the Omicron response.

Speaking before that announcement, Mr Beck said the situation was "gut-wrenching".

"I still have bills to pay."

Loss of stock was one of the biggest costs and Mr Beck was trying to freeze as much as possible yesterday.

Before the virus reached Dunedin, the city had been very quiet, he said.

January and February, which traditionally were two of the busiest months of the year, were not "even close to what it’s usually like" with no domestic or international tourists.

"People were already self-isolating and they didn’t even know it."

Within 500m of Filadelfio’s there were about 300 motel beds, which were a big part of Mr Beck’s business.

"I haven’t seen a ‘no vacancy’ sign up at one of them for a very long time."

Initially, the Government’s financial support package made no difference to Filadelfio’s because it was already 40% down on revenue in the comparison period — "it didn’t help us one bit", Mr Beck said.

Now that the restaurant had dropped 100% in revenue, he would be applying for support.