New Zealand

COVID settings changes do not go far enough

Increasing capacity cap for venues a waste of time

Hospitality New Zealand (HNZ) has welcomed the end to mandates for staff and vaccine passes for customers but says increasing the capacity cap for venues will make little difference for larger venues.

Describing the move as ”nonsensical”, HNZ CEO, Julie White said moving the cap to 200 is a waste of time, because people still have to be seated.

 “The cap should be pinned to the capacity of the venue. Lifting it will not work for bars and other night venues. The seated model does not work for them, even with a higher cap,” Ms White said.

“These are businesses that have been disproportionately impacted through the whole two years of the pandemic, they are suffering reduced revenue while paying higher labour costs to police all this.

“Where is the additional support to help them carry that load?

“I have one member with multiple venues who says he’s scraping the bottom of the barrel and has nothing left to support his businesses. And I know he’s not the only one.

“Businesses are running out of patience.

Ms White said the removal of outdoor limits while having indoor seated limits is also nonsensical.

“You can play a game of rugby where players are all over each other, but when they go for a beer later, they have to be seated and spaced apart. How ridiculous is that?” she said.

“As the Prime Minister said today, the data speaks for itself and virus spread in hospitality is low. That’s exactly what we have been saying, so if that’s the case why are we staying in the Red setting?

“The planning for all this has been haphazard, to say the least. 

“We’re opening to the world but we have these nonsensical solutions. Nothing is running concurrently or complimentary. 

“To have to wait until the 4th of April when every day counts for those in hospitality and accommodation is just going to be too late for some.

“And all the while hospitality businesses continue to be hammered.”

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