Has the bar industry been forgotten in the Alert Level 2 rules for hospitality announced by the Prime Minister? There is concern among bar owners that the restrictions under Level 2 don’t work for the bar experience.
The government announced that under Level 2, restaurant, cafe and bar owners would be allowed to open, but only if they abide by the three S’s, they are:
Seated - cafes and restaurants would only be able to serve as many as can be safely seated.
Separated - there must be social distancing between tables of 2 metres.
Single Server - tables will only be served by one wait staff member, table service only. No ordering from the counter.
Those guidelines make it tough for most bars to operate. The restrictions that will be in place under Level 2 mean patrons must be seated and cannot order drinks from the bar.
"The guidelines are great if you're a cafe or restaurant owner, but for people like me, they come with massive challenges,” expressed Matt McLaughlin who runs Danger Danger in Wellington's Courtenay Place and Panhead, a craft beer bar.
"These three S's mean I will have to bring on more staff and the typical bar experience is out the window. Bars that have been operating for 25 plus years will now essentially become whiskey lounges.”
It will be interesting to see how hospitality businesses manage the Three S System and how these new rules will be regulated.
Jacinda Ardern said their would be further guidelines given when the move to Level 2 is officially announced.