Hospitality Opens Doors to Reduce Losses

Reducing losses appears to be the main reason hospitality businesses are opening their doors in Rotorua as New Zealand enters the new level 2.

With the lockdown restrictions easing for all except Auckland, restaurants, bars, and cafes can reopen, albeit with stricter conditions.

Reg Hennessy, the owner of Hennessy's Irish Bar and Hospitality New Zealand's Bay of Plenty president, bluntly said he would lose money under level 2.

Hospitality businesses still have costs such as rent, power and wages, among other things. These expenses cost a tremendous amount of money, and for Hennessy, it's $60,000 a month. He said the aim of opening his doors was to lose $30,000 instead of $60,000.

The wage subsidy ceases at level 2, and Hennessy said businesses are screaming out for support.

The blow is a double hit as Auckland remains out of bounds. Rotorua's economy relies heavily on tourists and out-of-towners and will struggle to rely solely on locals.

When New Zealand entered level 2 last year, Aucklanders rushed to Rotorua, something Hennessy is not expecting this time.

Hennessy also feared Auckland's lockdown would extend into the Christmas period - one of the hospitality industry's busiest seasons.

Gregg Brown, the owner of Pig & Whistle and Capers, said he also expected to lose money but had to open to at least try and reduce losses.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said Auckland was Rotorua's biggest domestic market, comprising about 30 percent of revenue across accommodation, recreation, food, beverages and retail.

The longer this market is taped off, the greater the impact on businesses, she said.