Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Wellington to remain at Delta level 2

By Georgina Campbell

A Wellington hospitality business owner says the industry is trying to "roll with the punches" after hearing they'll spend another week navigating challenging Covid-19 level 2 restrictions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon that everywhere outside of Auckland will remain at Delta level 2 for another week, and Cabinet will review these settings on Monday next week.

"I know that for many the risk to the rest of the country may feel low. While it's true that there's nothing to indicate that there's Covid anywhere outside of Auckland, there is still reason to be cautious", Ardern said.

"If Covid were to travel over the Auckland border, the impact of that happening in a level 1 environment would be far greater than if a case emerged in a level 2 environment."

Auckland will remain at level 4 for another week, until 11.59pm on Tuesday September 21.

Cabinet has made an in-principle decision that Auckland will move to level 3 at that time.

The Ministry of Health earlier announced 33 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, all of which were in Auckland.

The last positive case in Wellington was 10 days ago. Five active cases remain in Wellington, with 12 cases having recovered.

Kāpura chief executive Jamie Williams said the hospitality industry was "having to roll with the punches" and rewrite plans on a weekly basis depending on what the Government announced.

He was grateful to at least get to go out and trade a bit, but said the capacity limits of 50 people at level 2 were making it challenging to run a "secure" business.

"Level 2 is actually quite difficult to navigate when you still have landlords who expect to be paid rent and we're trying to get our staff as many hours as we can, but obviously that comes with that we can only be as busy as the rules allow."

Williams said he expected this week's sales would be about 45 per cent of what they were pre-lockdown.

Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White said earlier today the Government's announcement could signal dire times for the industry, which was trying hard to hold on.

Some hard decisions have already been made in Wellington, with iconic café Prefab announcing last week it will cease operations immediately as the restrictions have made the businesses inoperable.

"I liken that to the canary in the mine – it's a sign of things to come," said White.

Finance and Performance Committee chairwoman councillor Diane Calvert said hospitality businesses were relying on people coming back into the CBD, but a lot of people were still working from home.

"I'm in town here today on a Monday and even for a Monday it's pretty quiet."

She said a lot of offices were still working out how to deal with Delta level 2.


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