Lockdown causing 'stress and uncertainty' for hospitality sector's future - Restaurant Association

The hospitality sector employs over 133,000 people in New Zealand.
The hospitality sector employs over 133,000 people in New Zealand. Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant owners are feeling "a lot of stress and uncertainty" about the future, says Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois.

The second outbreak of COVID-19 has put even more pressure on the hospitality sector - on Saturday an Auckland Chamber of Commerce survey revealed 18 percent of members would not survive another lockdown.

"The current business models do not work at level 3," Bidois told Magic Talk on Sunday morning. "We've actually seen more businesses close in Auckland at level 3 than we did the first time."

If lockdown levels remain heightened, a Restaurant Association survey revealed 12 percent of Auckland's hospitality industry would prepare to close within the next 30 days.

On Thursday, the association launched a petition calling on the Government to provide targeted support for the hospitality industry.

To revive the struggling sector, Bidois has launched 'Dine out to Help out', which would see the Government subsidise a percentage of the bill from meals eaten at a cafe, restaurant or pub.

"We'd like to see a lot more targeted support for hospitality," says Bidois.

While Bidois appreciates the wage subsidy, she says the hospitality industry is one of the most severely affected by COVID-19 - feeling the ramifications of the pandemic since February.

"Our industry has been hit very hard by the COVID pandemic, but we haven't really had targeted assistance like many other sectors."

While most businesses are struggling in the heightened alert levels, the Restaurant Association survey showed 10 percent of members are doing either slightly or significantly better in lockdown conditions.

"There definitely are some winners in our sector," Bidois says.

The hospitality sector contributes more than $11 billion to the economy and employs over 133,000 people across the country.