COVID-19: Many South Islanders losing patience with alert levels as days tick by without community case

Many South Islanders have lost patience with the alert level restrictions given there is no COVID-19 in their community.

Level 2.5 makes it tough for many businesses to be viable and some South Islanders want to see the Government open them right back up.

You'd be forgiven on Monday morning for thinking alert level 3 was already over in Christchurch as the streets were busy with traffic. Most Southerners are confident it's COVID-free.

But it's even tougher for businesses like hospitality venues collecting more cobwebs than income, including Christchurch's Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn.

"We will have to let some staff go because we could be in this for months if not weeks," Steve Pomeroy said.

Leann Watson, chief executive of the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, said alert levels 4 and 3 have been tough to take for many local businesses.

"There has been a degree of frustration in this community, we haven't had COVID here since we went into lockdown," she said.

On Monday the Government announced all of New Zealand, outside of Auckland, will move to alert level 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday, but not all South Islanders were impressed.

"Our members are struggling, they're now starting to talk about remortgaging their houses just to survive, things are dire," Hospitality NZ's CEO Julie White said.

A maximum of 50 in a venue will be difficult to make work.

But at Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn, they expect the low customer numbers will leave the business "unviable".

"I guess we'll give it our best shot on the day and see what we can come up with," Pomeroy said.

Westland Mayor Bruce Smith told Newshub the restrictions are "killing our event sector right through until Christmas". 

"It will be disastrous," he said.

But taking the plunge into Delta alert level 2 is good news for others

"For a small business like us, the more people we get in, the better," Jake Hynds from Rollicking Gelato said.

It also means some South Islanders can trade in a freezing Wanaka lake swim for a few runs up the mountain.

NZSki's Paul Anderson said they are "relieved" by the alert level change.

"We had been hoping we'd get to level 2 as of Wednesday morning and that's what's happened, we'll be able to open our ski resorts."

Many kids also aren't complaining that the school gates will be flung open.

So the glass may be half full for some, but for many there's still little to toast.