Hospitality Business Magazine

Change rhetoric from fear to hope says Bidois

The announcement from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of the removal of mandates and increased gathering numbers is a step forward in our path to revival and recovery, however, the seated and separated rule is still a major issue for our industry says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.

“We are hopeful that the changes to the number limits at red, opening of the borders and gradual removal of mandates will give a boost to consumer confidence and ease some of the challenges our industry has been facing.

“But the increase of limits to 200 while the seated and separated rule remains, will have little to no impact on our small, medium sized business which make up the majority of the industry.

“Whilst we continue to deal with restrictions, we would like to see a wage subsidy offered to get our businesses through this current outbreak.”

In a survey of its members conducted on 20th March 2022, 77 per cent of respondents supported the removal of the requirement for hospitality workers to be fully vaccinated.

The same survey of members indicated that 87 per cent would support changes to the requirement for customers to present a My Vaccine Pass.

“Hospitality business owners and their teams are unfortunately the ones at the coal face having to ensure that customers are complying with the traffic light rules. In a busy restaurant environment and with limited staff it is not always easy to have sufficient staff to be constantly monitoring diners’ compliance,” continued Bidois.

“Hospitality venues are also places we go to relax and enjoy ourselves, so the removal of this additional process is a positive step. However, our venues are also places where people want to socialise with others, particularly in bars and clubs so the continued enforcement of seated and separated will continue to be a sizeable issue for the industry.

”As well as more financial support, we would also like to see the Government outline a tangible vision for the recovery of our sector which clearly sets out the indicators required for a move to orange.

“We believe this should include a change of rhetoric from one of fear to one of hope and incentives, such as a subsidized dining scheme, to get people back out and stimulating the economy.”

“I think we all want to see our cities returning to the vibrant urban hubs they were before the pandemic, so we are hopeful that the changes announced today will build consumer confidence and herald the return of people into our venues.”