Hospitality NZ Welcomes COVID Plan

Hospitality New Zealand welcomes the Government’s plan to reconnect New Zealand to the world.

“It’s great we can now see what the Government is aiming to achieve. At least we now have some sort of plan and our businesses can work towards that,” commented Chief Executive Julie White.

“Maintaining the elimination strategy, reducing the need for lockdowns by accelerating the vaccine rollout, and working to relax restrictions at the border so we can welcome more people are all key to New Zealand’s and the hospitality industry’s economic survival.

“There’s a fine balance between keeping people safe and opening the economy to ensure businesses are viable and operating, and the hospitality sector will continue to do its part in ensuring New Zealanders that happens.”

White noted that New Zealand needs to keep the doors open but also be cautious in doing so.

“The news that the border ‘reconnection’ starts in the new year, though not ideal, is good to hear. The border is the lifeblood of our industry, and we need it opened as soon as possible, though we know this needs to be done carefully and based on the science and what is happening in other countries,” White continued.

“We look forward to seeing further details on the ‘phased approach’ to that. With the recent Sydney outbreak still not under control, border restrictions are one of the tools in keeping us safe, so caution is the most prudent approach.

“Including home-based quarantine as part of the border plan is a good move because it will allow more people through the border and ease some of the current congestion at MIQ facilities.”

Hospitality New Zealand has also welcomed the Government’s desire to reduce the chances of further lockdowns by strengthening the health response, including by accelerating the vaccine rollout.

“That and caution at the border will be crucial going forward. Going in and out of lockdowns hits hospitality extremely hard, so the sooner everyone is vaccinated, the better for us all.

“We are keen to hear more on the digital vaccine platform and how that will work for those arriving at the border. Scanning and mask-wearing are also vital tools, and Hospitality New Zealand continues to talk to the Government on how that will work going forward.

“The virus seems to be changing constantly and so we need to keep vigilant and adapt if we are to keep the doors open, even if that is mainly in a domestic environment for now. That’s our first priority.

“We need to get on with the show, take an industry-led approach to build forward, and protect the sustainability of our industry. Having a plan doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but it’s not impossible, and our people have shown to this point in the pandemic that they are mightily resilient.”