Auckland’s hospitality sector will remain on a knife edge as a three stage transition plan for the city to move from Alert Level 3 delays restrictions being lifted until the final phase.

“Today, based on public health advice, Cabinet confirmed its plan to transition Auckland out of current restrictions carefully and methodically, with regular check-ins to ensure we’re continuing to actively control the virus.” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

“Cabinet will review each step weekly to ensure it is safe to move before confirming the next step. Cabinet also agreed the rest of New Zealand will remain at Alert Level 2 to continue to support Auckland to do the heavy lifting, but the 100 limit cap on hospitality venues is removed, however, customers still need to be seated and separated.”

Ardern also confirmed that the Wage Subsidy and Resurgent Support Payments will remain available during the three stage plan.

Hospitality is covered in Phase 3 of the plan and will follow after:-

Phase 1, from 11.59pm, October 5:

  • Outdoor catch-ups with one other household allowed at a limit of 10, with masks to be worn when not eating and distanced while eating.
  • ECE reopening with bubbles of 10, teachers to get tested. 
  • Recreation allowed, with activities such as going to the beach, bowls and hunting allowed as long as it is outside and at a 10 person maximum. 

Phase 2, starting date not yet announced:

  • Retail opens, with physical distance and masks to be worn. Cafes and food courts inside businesses able to operate for takeaway only. 
  • Libraries, museums, pools and zoos able to open. 
  • Outdoor catch ups and funerals, tangi and weddings increased to 25 people. 

Phase 3, starting date not yet announced:

  • Hospitality in Auckland opens with a 50 person limit. 
  • Hairdressers open.
  • Indoor and outdoor social gatherings increase to 50 people.

Ardern said at the conclusion of the steps “we will then move to a national framework that reflects a more highly vaccinated population, allowing us the ability to deal with riskier settings such as large-scale events with the use of vaccine certificates”.

The role of the regional boundary around Auckland will be “continually monitored”. Ardern said the phases would not extend to the Waikato areas that are in Level 3 for at least five days.

Reacting to the announcement the Restaurant Association said the removal of gathering numbers outside of Auckland ‘is welcomed however, our largest city is hurting.’

“Auckland is hurting. Hospitality is hurting.

“Auckland is hurting.” – Marisa Bidois, Chief Executive of the Restaurant Association.

“The Auckland hospitality industry has time and again been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and it is time that our Government recognised this by providing financial relief that is specific and targeted to our sector,” said CEO Marisa Bidois.

“Two weeks ago, we laid out an eight point plan as part of our Future of Hospitality Roadmap to help our sector to reopen and recover but we remain wanting.

“Whilst business owners are in the main supportive of the elimination strategy they do not support the blind eye that has been turned to their financial plight.

“Wage subsidy and resurgence support payments are not enough – our businesses are on the brink and something more must be done. Hospitality businesses continue to experience a disproportionate material impact on revenue as a direct result from the Alert Level guidelines.”

The Restaurant Association’s new Future of Hospitality Roadmap has been designed to help businesses get back on their feet, by focusing on reopening, recovery and sustainability.

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