June 10 will see restaurants, bars and hospitality outlets back to normal trading conditions.

No more separated tables, seated only customers or single server complications will exist under the highly anticipated Level 1 Alert, expected to be implemented on June 10.

Announcing the conditions of the new COVID-19 Alert Level, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a 1.30 pm press conference today that a set of new behaviours will provide the Golden Rules to keep COVID-19 at bay.

They include: –

1. If you are sick, stay home, don’t be stoic and go to work if you are unwell.

2. If you display cold or flu like symptoms get tested for COVID-19.

3. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands

4. Sneeze into your elbow.

5. If you are requested to self isolate – do so.

Ardern also emphasised the need to stay vigilant and for businesses to help contact tracing by displaying the QR code for the government’s tracing app. Borders remain closed.

The ailing hospitality sector yesterday called for the government to immediately lift restrictions, and for additional financial relief following another week of falling revenues.

The Restaurant Association of New Zealand is conducting weekly surveys of its members to gain feedback. After a third week at level 2 it reported that 60 per cent of its members are reporting a fall in revenues compared with the same trading period last year, with 22 per cent calling the losses ‘significant’.

The survey of Restaurant Association members ranks the single server rule has been the single most challenging aspect of operating at level 2 with maintaining physical distance ranking second.

“These two restrictions alone proved extremely restrictive. The additional costs required to employ more staff increased wage bills and with fewer tables to serve, for many it’s made the cost of reopening too high. said Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

“We have schools and offices back, sports practises starting and people able to shop relatively freely and yet our industry appears to have been working under far more draconian regulations.

“Anecdotal feedback from members has also shown that managing customer expectations has also proved a challenge. Many customers do not understand the single server requirement, or the time it takes to manage service in this way, and understandably would prefer a more seamless service experience.

“Counter service is available now for only those businesses that do not serve alcohol. This is unreasonably limiting for bars as well as cafes, many of whom have liquor licenses and we would prefer to see that the rule applies only to all business that can meet the physical distancing requirements.

“Whilst the extension to the wage subsidy has helped it’s only going to apply to businesses sitting at a 50 per cent loss, which completely undermines the needs of those sitting at 20, 30 and 40 percent losses which are still considerable for an industry where profit margins are typically lower than 10 per cent.

“The losses for our industry are now mounting and with no word on additional relief or a code of conduct for commercial leases, to say our hospitality businesses are battling is an understatement”.

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1 Comment

  1. Touche !!
    I am a little restaurant, where the social distancing has impacted significantly on our revenue comeback.
    Single service was a style we already had, so that has not been an impact.
    I kept my staff on 100% wages for 6 weeks of lockdown, and reduced to 80% for the last 2 weeks ( we did not open at Level 3) 4 of these weeks I did not draw a wage for myself.
    My decision to pay 100% was out of gratitude to a hard working, small team of employees. Because they are very valuable to me and I wanted that resounded.
    I thought I would get some rent relief from the Landlord, but I did not. So where I thought I would share that saving with my employees, it was not to be.
    I have reduced my mortgage to interest only.
    I injected $25,000 of my own personal funds into the business, to stay afloat.
    On returning to business, I have had an integral staff member hand in her resignation the second week back. There is no “insurance” for me or recourse to recoup any of the $1800 I spent during lockdown to retain her.
    I have a very strong regular clientelle who have been very supportive on our return and I am now sitting on the cusp of not being eligible for the additional wage subsidy, which is gutting.
    My weekly turnover sits at approximately $17,000, at this time of year, which over 8 weeks equates to $136,000 in lost revenue during lockdown.
    With my own personal injection of funds and the savings I had in the bank I project it will take me a year or more to get back to where I was. A whole year of no growth.
    I have chosen not to accept the $10,000 loan, because I only have to pay it back anyway.
    I want to keep myself as “debt free”, in the “assistance arena”, as I possibly can.
    I don’t see things improving for quite some time, because of the increase in unemployment and the consequences of this, being limited disposable income to dine out.
    I am a resilient person, a fighter, but it has taken a toll on my personal wellbeing, as the uncertainty lives with me every day. Not just for me, but for my employees as well.
    I love what I do, we all do – but if unsustainability stares me in the face, I am going to be forced to reconsider our existence.
    Like most of the hospitality/tourism and accommodation sectors – I’m haemorrhaging, and we do need some extra support, somehow??
    Thank you for your time.

    Thank you for your time.

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