Coronavirus: Central Auckland bar forced to cancel bookings, clear out customers after COVID case notification

More questions are being raised about our border controls after another community case of COVID-19 was picked up by a worker at Auckland's quarantine facility. 

Two Auckland businesses have undergone a deep clean, while health officials scramble to contain the spread. 

Mezze Bar was back to business after an unwanted call from public health.

"They said we've got some bad news and we've had a COVID case in," says owner Sally Hindmarsh. 

Mezze Bar was forced to cancel bookings and clear out six tables of people in the middle of last night's dinner. 

"Every minute that we're closed is a blow and we've already suffered you know with all of the lockdowns."

Seven staff were working when the latest case dined alone while infectious on Thursday between 11am and 1pm. 

"Put everything through the steriliser, wiped down every chair, every table, every wall, even the windows."

The visitor also went to Queen Street's for 15 minutes at around 1:30pm. 

The case is a worker at the Jet Park quarantine facility and it's the seventh time the virus has slipped through our borders in just three months. 

"I think this latest case is continuing a pattern of border failures," says epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker.

The staff member returned a negative test on Wednesday, but developed symptoms the next day. 

Twenty-five people have been identified as close contacts of the worker, six of whom have already returned a negative test. Less than 20 people received an alert from the COVID Tracer app, reminding Kiwis to scan in wherever they go. 

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation isn't surprised by the latest case. 

It says quarantine facilities are understaffed and basic things like masks aren't being fitted properly. 

"That's something we expect at orientation and we were really surprised and disappointed to find that that is actually not occurring with every single worker," says Kate Weston from the NZ Nurses Organisation.

And so close to Christmas, some Kiwis are concerned.

"Maybe things should be more controlled," one said.

"Yeah yeah a little bit worried," another said. 

"I'm surprised we've made it this long." 

But Prof Baker says it'd take a lot to plunge us back into lockdown. 

"At the moment, where we have a very well-defined border failure, a single health worker and they were detected very quickly. That's a really optimistic situation."

So for now, it's glass half full for Kiwis and businesses like Mezze Bar.