Coronavirus: Concern safety restrictions will stop restaurants turning a profit

Restaurants are preparing for the first weekend of alert level 2. But will new safety restrictions get in the way of them turning a profit?

Spending at cafes, restaurants, takeaway food, and bars is down $814 million compared to April last year.

But days one and two at alert level 2 on Thursday and Friday saw eateries already back to being booked out.

At Auckland's Olaf's bakery it was busy but not busy business as usual.

"Looking at the bookings, it looks promising," said Olaf's owner Oranna Blanke Olaf.

"We took tables out, we had to half the capacity."

And running at 50 percent is just not sustainable.

"There's no way we can make it, not even us and we're well established," Olaf said. 

"I think of our other competitors on the market and my heart goes out to them, it's just terrible."

Newshub called the country's top restaurants and they're all booked solid for the weekend.

But it's not that simple. Because so few people can fit in a place at one time, turnover is crucial. 

One Wellington restaurant is having to restrict dining times to one hour in order to match pre-lockdown profits.

Hospitality NZ is reiterating the well-worn phrase of "support local" but alert level 2 jitters are a real thing.

"I'm being a little bit cautious about cafes and bars," one person told Newshub.

"It takes a bit of getting used to really," another said

Locals are starting to flirt with normality albeit in a socially distanced, orderly fashion.