Prominent Hospo Brand Calls for Covid Rule Changes

Lone Star Queenstown

While the most widely recognised hospitality brands and businesses will get through this period, they agree that the Omicron period is uniquely challenging.

“Our brand and the strength and resilience of our Franchisees will get us through the year, but it is tough. We are also experiencing erratic revenues, on top of last year’s enormous challenges. It is the compounding nature of this situation that is a real challenge for all business under Red settings and Omicron is being likened to Level 3 settings, just with the dining room doors open,” expressed Paul Steiner, Operations Manager, Lone Star NZ.

“Our Guests feel the same. Their mindset has changed. They’re not optimistic. They’re very wary. Just one local Omicron case can stop multitudes of them going out. The usual patterns of our trade have been very disrupted this year.”

Hospitality NZ is calling for a resumption of the Wage Subsidy and the Resurgence Payment, and reduction of stand-down periods and ability to use RAT kits to manage staff and customer safety.

According to Steiner, Lone Star will navigate through the next two to three months like it has the last two years.

“But that will be too much for a great many of our industry peers without financial support in our sector to cover losses, and without loosening operational rules to help us all stay open. Empowering all businesses to deploy monitored Rat kits is a common-sense initiative to minimise business interruption which we support.”

Steiner pointed out that many operators have already changed everything they can to continue in business from selling assets to bank borrowings to cover mounting costs.

“It is frustrating for everyone to have worked so hard in support of the Health response strategy, and still the end to restrictions isn’t coming.”