8 May 2020

Covid-19: Figuring out how to run retail in alert level 2

10:33 am on 8 May 2020

Retailers around the country are still working out how they will comply with restrictions under alert level 2.

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File image. Photo: pixabay

Retailers will be able to fully open their doors, but will have to impose social distancing measures, and shopping malls will have to limit numbers.

Council of Retail Property chairperson Campbell Barbour said it was not one-size-fits-all, and the restrictions would affect malls particularly.

"What we've got to look at here is making sure that across large modern shopping centres all the different components are meeting the government's objectives in terms of social distancing, providing a safe environment and making sure that we do uphold what government is trying to achieve."

He said customers will need reassurance from retailers that it is safe to shop again.

Mark Rose, general manager of the Rees Hotel in Queenstown, told Morning Report he's still smiling from the PM's announcement yesterday.

"We were worried that, at level 2, there wouldn't be air travel into Queenstown - which is a major part of our business - so the fact that people can fly in from our major centres is going to make a huge difference."

He said the announcement is the light at the end of the tunnel for a very long six weeks.

"For us to know we're going to be able to serve some customers is great for both our business and our staff."

Rose said it's a great time for Kiwis to visit places in their own country without crowds of foreign tourists.

Raechal Ferguson, co-owner of Wellington restaurant Field and Green, is also excited about the announcement.

She told Morning Report that the process outlined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is the one the restaurant normally follows anyway. Their only change will be a reduction in the number of tables in the restaurant.

Ferguson said there does need to be clarity on the rules on waiters and tables. Yesterday, the government said there was to be one waiter per table, but restauranteurs are unsure if that means waiters cannot serve more than one table at once. It's a caveat that could mean huge expense to restaurants.

Dave Porteous from Bowls Hastings told Morning Report he's eagerly preparing for reopening.

Porteous has set up hand sanitiser dispensers around the green and has a contact system ready to go.

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