Aucklanders have rejoiced at the news that the city is now back to Level One after a long 14 day stint at higher levels. Major events planned around the region are now back on the agenda and hospitality outlets are gearing up to meet renewed demand.
The Viaduct, with its variety of restaurants, bistros and taverns, became almost a ghost town hosting the America’s Cup, and is now expecting a much needed revival of foot traffic and customers for the races. The region’s major horse racing event of the year, The Auckland Cup will also be open to the public on Saturday March 13 at Ellerslie.
Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern announced the move from Level 2 to Level 1 today, March 12, at a press conference held at 11.30 am.
Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois says the industry is “relieved” that Auckland will shift to alert level 1 at noon on Friday.
“We want to send a clear message to Kiwis that this city is very much open for business. So if you’re an Aucklander, we encourage you put down your cook books and visit the fantastic eateries that are ready and waiting to serve you,” she said.
“We also need our Government to come to the table and show some kindness towards those industries most hard hit by the pandemic. The constant last-minute closures and restrictions on trading put untenable financial and emotional strain on owners.
“Over the last few weeks I have personally taken calls from owners in tears of frustration, on the verge of losing everything they have worked so hard for.
“We are now seeing the fallout from a year of doing it tough, with businesses closing and people losing their livelihoods.”
Bidois says the Government needs to “step up” and ensure the hospitality industry is not overlooked when allocating relief.