Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last night announced that Auckland would return to Level 3 following three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Auckland will remain at Level 3 until at least Wednesday at 11.59pm, pending further announcements from the government.

The rest of New Zealand will move to Level 2.

Under Level 3 restrictions, hospitality venues – including bars, pubs and clubs – must remain closed for customers, unless they are able to operate a contactless takeaway option.

Ardern said a decision would be made after 72 hours on whether a further wage subsidy would be required.

Chief Executive at Hospitality NZ, Julie White, told the NZ Herald that the news was devastating.

“It’s really lockdown equivalent for the hospitality industry [in Auckland],” she said. “It’s devastating from a business operations point of view.

“It’s also just another shock that we are going down this path again. There are a lot of fragile people in the industry. We’re really hoping this is short and sharp,” she said.

Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois said the announcement is a major blow for the industry who are already struggling to recover from the compounded impact of changes to alert levels and border closures.

“With borders closed, our revenues continue to suffer and these changes of alert levels are incredibly difficult to manage,” she said.

“Many businesses will have stocked up on food for the days ahead and will now incur wastage costs on top of significantly reduced revenues.”

The Restaurant Association Guidelines for hospitality venues operating at Level 3 are:

  • Businesses must take health measures to keep their workers safe – maintain physical distance between workers, recording who is working together, limiting interaction between groups of workers, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining high hygiene standards.
  • Hospitality businesses can operate under Alert Level 3 for contactless delivery and pick-up (including drive-through) of pre-prepared food and beverages. Customers cannot enter your premises.
  • People are still instructed to stay home unless for essential personal movement. Essential personal movement is for activities such as accessing local services and businesses, recreation or work and school.

The Restaurant Association guidelines for hospitality venues operating at Level 2 are:

  • The overall limit on numbers is 100.
  • Multiple groups of 100 are allowed provided they are in separate ‘defined spaces’ and there is no mingling of people between the different spaces (including in common areas) (see below information on defined spaces).
  • One metre physical distancing is required between groups and there must be at least one metre between tables.
  • Only one server is to serve at any table, to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Records must be kept to enable contact tracing for workers and customers, but there is no longer a requirement to record physical addresses.
  • Customers must be seated at a table except where using the toilet, paying or departing, ordering and collecting food and drinks (at unlicensed premises
  • Ordering and collecting food and drinks at the counter is allowed for nonlicensed premises only, provided that physical distancing is maintained.
  • Ordering and collecting food and drinks at the counter is not permitted at bars or other licensed premises.

More: The three S’s revisited.

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