'Gutted': Auckland bakery owner slams others staying open during COVID-19 lockdown

Bondie designer cupcakes, closed sign
Owner of Bondie Designer Cupcakes Chanelle Bond says it was a "slap in the face" to see other eateries stay open, after she made the decision to close for customer's safety. Photo credit: Instagram/Getty.

An Auckland baker and business owner says it's "a slap in the face" to see other bakeries attempt to stay open during the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown. 

On Tuesday, several bakeries and cafes announced their decision to stay open for takeaway orders during the lockdown, as they were dubbed to be "an essential service". 

Popular eateries Daily Bread along with Bread and Butter each posted on Instagram, declaring they would be providing baked goods, eggs, fresh produce, bone broth and coffee throughout the four week shutdown, after approval from the Baking Industry Association of New Zealand. 

Chanelle Bond, owner of Rosedale cupcake store Bondie's cupcakes, told Newshub on Wednesday she was "absolutely gutted" to see the decision from her competitors. 

"We closed on Monday, we technically could have been open on Tuesday, but we didn't want to risk it," she said. 

"We're all closing, we're all losing money, and then to see other businesses saying 'I'm essential', and they're selling doughnuts and coffee... it was a real slap in the face.

"I couldn't understand it. A lot of them were waving a flag and saying 'we're taking pressure off supermarkets'- no you're encouraging people to put their health in danger." 

After some backlash and further government clarification around what is considered 'essential', both eateries announced on Wednesday their revised decision to shut their doors. 

In a post on Instagram, Grey Lynn-based Bread and Butter said the decision was down to a lack of public support. 

"With great sadness we have come to the conclusion that the support for local small business in the current climate is just not there. We fear for the safety of our people and brand and we no longer have confidence that we will be able to serve everyone safely through our actual shop in Grey Lynn," the post reads.

Bond says the cafe "100 percent, completely missed the point". 

"It's not about 'community support', it's about people's lives," she said. 

"You're putting your staff at risk, their families at risk... it's more important than just trying to sell a few more loaves of bread." 

She says her business received "lovely community support" in the days before closing. 

"The customers have been awesome. People have been holding onto their money since last week but they were coming into us and getting a coffee and a cupcake or two to go - it means a lot." 

Bond remains unsure if her business "is still going to be here" after the lockdown ends. 

She says the Government support package came through last night and "while we're incredibly grateful for what we've received... it's not going to be enough to carry all staff member's salaries for months on end".

"Like all the other bakeries we will have zero revenue coming in for the next four weeks, so it's just scary to imagine what everything might look like in the end."

In her address to the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained that essential services like doctors, banks, service stations, supermarkets and pharmacies were the only businesses that would stay open once the level 4 lockdown was imposed at 11:59pm on Wednesday. 

"Non-essential businesses in New Zealand must now close. All bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, playgrounds and any other place where the public congregate must close their face-to-face function," Ardern said, iterating that takeaway food outlets were also to shut their doors. 

Bond says her message to other small business owners at this time is to "remember we're all in the same boat". 

"Whether you have one employee or 300 employees, it's scary but if we all keep paddling in the same direction we'll get there in the end," she says.

"It sucks and we've all had a cry. Now it's time to put our pyjamas on and just do what we have to do. 

"If we all stick to the rules, we'll do better on the other side."