Coronavirus: Hospitality businesses get creative to reopen under alert level 3

After four weeks of lockdown hospitality staff are preparing to reopen their doors, but some are having to get creative to keep the cash flowing under alert level 3.

For some, getting back up and running has meant a whole new business plan.

Co-owner of Christchurch restaurant Twenty Seven Steps Emma Mettric says they've had to adapt to the new operating restrictions. There can't be any face-to-face transactions, instead food can be delivered or picked up through a contactless system.

"As a business you can't stand still, no matter what the situation is. We don't know what level 2 is going to look like, so we're dealing with what's in front of us at level 3. So takeaways is what we're doing," she says.

They've rubbed out last month's specials and there won't be any elegant fine dining dishes. Instead they're offering 'meals on wheels' out the back of their car boot.

"Cash flow is king right now. We need to keep money coming in to maintain our bills, our overheads, our staff, so we're trying to do everything we can to stay afloat," Mettric says.

Hospitality New Zealand CEO Julie White says it's all for businesses and their staff.

"They've been working all week on health and safety, ordering stock and creating new menus, and also talking to their staff about coming back to work, so that's really exciting," she says.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a new business venture for Tim McLeod.

Eat Local New Zealand is an online restaurant delivery platform rivalling UberEats.

"We charge 5 percent - 3 percent cost and 2 percent margin," he says.

It's currently a temporary option for restaurants, but he's planning for it to become a permanent one.

"We plan to be here forever. We've got a level 2 model, a level 1 model and a beyond model. We want this to really be a new New Zealand," McLeod says. 

Excitement is building. Come Tuesday, a fraction of normality will be restored - but officials are warning people shouldn't get ahead of themselves.