Hospo Venue Limits Increase

The Government announced it would increase the number of people allowed at hospitality venues if Auckland moves to alert level 3 next week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the number of guests allowed in restaurants and bars in the rest of the country would increase from 50 to 100.

Hospitality New Zealand described the announcement as a light at the end of the tunnel.

Chief executive Julie White also said this increase in customer limits would be a game-changer for some.

Operators could offer more hours to staff and remain open. Some will be able to afford to operate, period.

From this Friday, eligible businesses for another fortnight of the wage subsidy and resurgence support payments can apply.

Ardern encouraged businesses trapped in level 4 to tap into the resources available.

Despite this hope-inspiring announcement, Mike Egan, Restaurant Association New Zealand's national president, still believed the number of people allowed in a restaurant or bar should be based on the size of the venue.

Egan's restaurant Monsoon Poon has a maximum capacity of 100 people, but with social distancing, he could accommodate 80 guests, he said.

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said the increase would be a relief for many businesses, as the 50-person limit had been unworkable for some. However, the social distancing will still restrict business operations, she said.