20 Apr 2020

Level 3 rules will deliver little relief to some hard-hit Chinese eateries

6:41 am on 20 April 2020

Chinese restaurants are thought to be among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 virus, with many suffering loss of business well before lockdown.

Chicken pad Thai dish of stir fried rice noodles with a contemporary presentation.

Restaurants will be allowed to reopen but only for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery. Photo: 123rf / Todd Arena

Should the country move to level 3 of the Covid-19 alert system, restaurants will be allowed to reopen but only for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery.

Some Chinese food outlets in Auckland say an easing of restrictions will provide some relief, but others say it won't be worth reopening.

The prospect of the level change has Yin Guangqing, the boss of three Chongqing Noodles shops, busy preparing new menus.

Yin said it will help if they can reopen but delivery only accounts for a small portion of his revenue.

"It's helpful to a certain extent. At least some of our staff members can go back to work. Also we would be able to meet the needs of some customers."

He believed hardship for restaurants would last for some time.

"It's not like that when the lockdown is over and we go back to work and everything would just return to normal. I don't think it will be like that. I think it might take quite a few months, maybe three, four or even a longer period of time to get back to where we were."

Jenny Li, who runs Dumplings Ace and Dumpling Station, said operating just on a takeaway basis will likely mean running at a loss.

"For our type of food, it's not easy to do takeaway. Even if we open, I don't think we can cover the cost."

Li said her main worry was that customers won't come back even when the government says businesses can operate as normal.

"Because now people have changed their lifestyle. Everybody is scared about the virus. People would still stay away from people, so how can we do the business?"

Director of Hotpot Duke on Dominion Road, Rick Ren, said delivery or pick-ups may not be possible for his business.

"For hotpot, you need to prepare fresh food and customer will cook it on the table, so it's hard to do the takeaway or delivery."

Ren said while it's good to have wage subsidy and tax relief, the most important thing is to get customers back through the door.

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said moving to level 3 will only be good news for some in the industry.

"It's not gonna suit everyone. Not all businesses will be able to do contactless takeaway or delivery at this stage but it's definitely to those who can."

Bidois said the association has been working with the government on a contactless delivery and pick up plan to guide businesses during level 3.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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