High-profile café becomes Covid casualty

Prefab cafe in Wellington. Photo: NZ Herald
Prefab cafe in Wellington. Photo: NZ Herald
High-profile Wellington café Prefab is ceasing operations immediately and staff have been given notice of redundancy.

Delta level 2 has proven too restrictive for Prefab to re-open. Under the rules there is a limit of 50 people at hospitality and event venues, while outdoor venues can have up to 100 people.

Prefab Eatery, the 180 seater flagship café for the ACME brand, was founded in 2013 by Jeff Kennedy and Bridget Dunn.

The New Zealand Herald understands staff have been told this week the decision has been made to cease Prefab café operations immediately and all café positions would be redundant.

They were told the decision was a hard one to make, but was an inevitable outcome of the global Covid-19 crisis.

Dunn and Kennedy told the Herald no one had been made redundant at this stage, as they were still in the discussion period.

They said they were not in a position to make any decisions on whether the situation would be reviewed once there was more clarity from the Government on future Covid-19 restrictions.

Their message to Wellingtonians was "kia kaha".

Dunn and Kennedy said the new Delta rules were not conducive to the way the café operated and made it "impossible" for them to open responsibly.

"A café is a space where people eat, drink, talk, have meetings, cook, serve, clean, wash, prepare food. It is a perfect storm for spreading aerosols causing infection."

They said cafes were "busy buzzy hives of social activity" and Wellington and Auckland were deserted cities.

On Prefab's website, Kennedy said their dream was to have an area they could control socially and musically, with eating, art, beautiful weddings.

"We wanted to have the ability to have a space in the inner city and we love this area, Te Aro.

"Anyone would be able to pop by to use the free wi-fi. It would be a public space without a council bureaucrat in sight. This is why we live in Wellington. This place has sun, and it's not a high-rise area."

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