MEDIA RELEASE: Hospitality businesses ready to welcome back customers at Level 2, some relief for the sector
11 May 2020
11 May 2020
Hospitality businesses ready to welcome back customers at Level 2, some relief for the sector
Hospitality businesses say they are ready to get back to serving their customers and communities at Covid-19 Alert Level 2.
Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive Julie White said today’s announcement that New Zealand will move to Level 2 at 11.59pm on Wednesday is some relief for the sector, which is eager to get staff back to work and to welcome customers back to their venues — although the Level 2 rules set by the Government will be highly restrictive.
In addition to the ‘3S’ rules that the Government announced last week (that customers be seated, separated and each table have a single server), it today imposed additional requirements including a two-hour limit, maximum groups of 10, and alcohol can only be served with food.
Julie White said Hospitality New Zealand has been working closely with the Government over the Level 2 requirements and fought hard for bars to be allowed to open. The guiding principles for hospitality venues to open are to follow the “3S”, whilst we did not agree with the restrictions, we had to adapt and make them work for our sector. These rules will be reviewed and we will be working hard to get greater flexibility.
“We are ready to open— we have innovative plans in place, we have strict hygiene and cleaning regimes, and we know we can manage contact tracing and physical distancing as well as the additional requirements announced today,” White said. “Our biggest challenge will continue to be financial as these restrictions mean our venues will continue to have less revenue and higher costs.”
Revenue in the hospitality sector has been falling since tourist numbers started to drop in January. Data released today by Statistics New Zealand shows spending on cafes, restaurants, takeaway food, and bars fell 95 percent ($814 million) compared with April 2019, after also falling 29 percent ($266 million) in March 2020 compared with March 2019. Spending on motels and hotels fell 94 percent in April ($209 million) compared with April 2019, after also falling 37 percent ($97 million) in March 2020 compared with March 2019.
“While Level 2 will be welcome, it will not be a panacea for our hospitality businesses and we urgently need targeted, sector-specific financial support,” White said. “Our calls for targeted support cannot be ignored any longer. The data shows the enormity of the impact of Covid-19 on the sector, and behind the data there are livelihoods and jobs that are on the line.
“Our industry has done our bit, we closed our business and kept people employed, and now it’s time for the Government to support us — otherwise at least 20% of our hospitality businesses and jobs will be lost before we even have the chance to reopen for Level 2,” White said.
“We saw over the weekend how important our venues are in our communities, with people eager to get back to socialising with friends and family and police called to close down parties across New Zealand. As we move to Level 2, our bars, cafes and restaurants will be vital; they will be the safest place for people to socialise and will bring vitality back into our communities, as well as providing employment for thousands of New Zealanders.”
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About Hospitality New Zealand
Hospitality New Zealand is Aotearoa’s leading nationwide hospitality industry association covering commercial accommodation and food and beverage businesses. It is a not for profit organisation, which currently supports over 3,000 members across the country. The association was first formed in 1902 as the United Licensed Victuallers Association, and has consequently been helping New Zealand’s small businesses and communities for over a century.