Hotel operators are preparing to move to Alert Level 3 on Wednesday, which will allow businesses to offer take-out and contactless food delivery services.
The country south of Northland and Auckland is expected to transition to Level 3 alert restrictions starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Hospitality New Zealand South Canterbury chairman Kristy Phillips, who co-owns two restaurants in Timaru, said Friday’s government announcement that Level 4 was being extended until Tuesday evening was a blow – but the focus was now on preparing for level 3.
“It was incredibly difficult and while it was not unexpected, it was still a blow.
“It’s the uncertainty that causes a lot of stress and the difficulties of knowing what to put forward.
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She was hoping there wouldn’t be any closures as a result of the last lockdown.
“But a lot of small businesses will struggle with that. Resilience is affected every time (there is a lockdown).
However, Phillips said the announcement left a few days to prepare for Level 3.
“When we come in, we will have to clean up and equip ourselves, as well as integrate our team. It’s good to have at least the certainty of a date (for level 3).
Phillips said estimating what to order to meet demand as levels were dropping was a problem for many in the restaurant and cafe industry.
Phillips said Level 3 will always be similar to Level 4, and business owners have been eagerly awaiting when we drop back down to Level 2.
“In the hotel industry, click and collect often does not work for all businesses.
After speaking to operators across the country, she said people are staying as positive as they can be.
“I hope the government will give more clarity on Monday; we don’t want to control the behavior of the public. How the Prime Minister’s Office returns in more detail will be crucial. Phillips nonetheless said the announcement would give a “semblance of normalcy” to hotel staff, as she expected a lot of work to be done on Wednesday.
Street Eats owner Jane Bowen, who delivers food to her Speight’s Ale House and Street Food Kitchen restaurants, said she is preparing to deliver Level 3 orders.
“Friday’s announcement gave us a lot of time to plan ahead, but we won’t really be able to get into the place until Wednesday,” Bowen said.
“We are expecting a very busy Wednesday.
Bowen said they have learned a lot since the last time the country was at Level 3.
“It will be easier for our staff this time around. We will have front line staff involved in delivering the food.
“We have prepared our ‘bubbles’.
“The Street Eats initiative has never gone away, it received fantastic support after the lockdown last year.”
Saikou restaurant and bar owner Gavin Hamel said they are also preparing for level 3 and click and collect service.
“Food is going to be our main source of income at the moment, while we are all at level 3, things will get easier at level 2 when we are allowed to open the bar for customers,” Hamel said.
Despite the idea of a “frantic” Wednesday, Hamel said there was “still enough time” to prepare and restock after having to throw in a lot of food at level 4.
“We are all in the same boat.”
Benny’s Again chief executive Hayley Donaldson said they also learned a lot from playing at Level 3 last year.
“It was our first time doing deliveries so it was a bit of a steep curve,” said Donaldson.
“We have made some improvements to our systems since then, and we currently have staff working as delivery drivers. The whole team is mobilized. “
Nick Foster, of the Delivereasy food delivery service, said they employed 1,400 drivers nationwide and 45-50 in Timaru as well as 70 staff in 22 centers.
Below level 4, they could only deliver alcohol orders, but they looked forward to adding food to the level 3 supply.
Foster said he expected demand to rise significantly below Level 3, but not to the same levels as last year, rising from Level 4 to 3 when business quadrupled overnight.
“It was a pandemonium. Level 3 is not ideal for restaurants, but we like to think that we can give them the opportunity to generate income.
“There are always challenges along the way for us with labor shortages, although we can still hire contractors remotely through the lockdown.
“All the training is done by video, we interview by phone, and they provide their own car and can download our app.”
Hospitality NZ’s accommodation sector spokesperson for South Canterbury, Noel Stafford, said his sector was feeling the pain but had to “suck it up”.
“It’s quite difficult, with 80 to 90% less income, and we still have overheads, rent. Everyone squats down. “
He said some essential workers had booked at his motel.
“It’s spotty, but we’re thankful for what we can get. When we get to level 2, things will start to improve.