Christchurch bars, cafes hoping for busy weekend in new traffic light system

The entire South Island will be placed in the orange light setting from Friday, meaning life can almost get back to normal for most of us.

New freedoms will be allowed, such as mingling with strangers in a bar and even dancing - that is as long as everybody has been vaccinated.

Christchurch bar owner Nick Inkster said an end of the requirement to be seated and served meant they could do bar service again and could double the number of punters they were currently able to host at level 2.

Image: ODT
Image: ODT
Everybody would be asked to show their vaccine certificates at the door.

"Friday, Saturdays, not a problem with security on, so that'll be the job for the doormen, they'll basically when they check IDs they'll be scanning everybody in with their Covid passports.

"If it's during the afternoon when there's no doormen on, it's going to be quite challenging."

Inkster was not sure what to expect come Friday night, saying it could be a quiet one if lots of unvaccinated people had to stay home.

Last weekend he had a lot at his bar for a final drink before the rules requiring a vaccine came in to force.

"Talking to my customers, a lot of them were unvaccinated people, so they were out for their last hurrah, which is quite interesting, so there was no intention to get double jabbed.

"So going off that makes me kind of wonder whether we are going to be as busy as we're thinking and hoping."

Front of house at C1 cafe in Christchurch, Sophie Gilmore, said from Friday those wanting to have a coffee would need to be vaccinated.

"Well, I think we'll want to do it before they order just in case they don't [have a vaccine certificate] or if, you know, they have an exemption or anything.

"And I guess our plan is that if they don't have one then, you know, that's their choice and we might offer a takeaway coffee.

"But we just can't let them sit inside or outside due to the safety of all of our customers."

Most people spoken to on the streets of Christchurch had little or no understanding of what the new orange setting actually meant.

Maree Cope had only had her first jab and was looking forward to having her second so she could get her vaccine certificate and keep playing bowls.

"I can still play this week but from Friday you can't. Most clubs are putting their own limits on.

"You've got a lot of older members so they're all accepting of it and don't question it. They're not the rebels."

In Queenstown, where almost 94 per cent of residents are doubled-vaxxed, Mayor Jim Boult said the orange setting was understandable given where the pandemic was at around the country.

"There are those few folks out there who are not vaccinated and clearly that's their decision, they've got to live with the consequences of it, but for the rest of us yes, looking forward to a hot, busy and almost normal summer."

But Jim Boult said come January 17, when the government takes another look at the settings, as long as there is no widespread outbreak in his region he'll be looking for a shift to green and a resumption of life as we used to know it.

 

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