Auckland businessman Leo Molloy claims police have given 'support and encouragement' as he plans December 1 opening regardless of COVID restrictions

Prominent Auckland waterfront bar owner Leo Molloy says he's felt support and encouragement from the police as he plans to open on December 1, regardless of what COVID-19 restrictions are at that time.

In an interview with Newstalk ZB last month Molloy, who owns Auckland bar Headquarters (HQ), outlined his own 'Freedom Day' - explaining he plans to reopen on December 1 no matter what.

He might be able to open legally anyway. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated earlier this week Auckland was likely to reach its 90 percent full vaccination target on November 29, allowing the Super City to move into the 'traffic light' system and alert level lockdowns to be scrapped. 

Molloy, who's planning an Auckland Mayoralty bid, told The AM Show he felt relaxed knowing he'd be opening his doors in 21 days.

"We're definitely reopening on Wednesday the 1st regardless. We announced that a month ago and we're going to carry on and do that.

"We have a fairly robust and open dialogue with the police… I don't detect anything other than encouragement and positive support from the police."

Molloy on Wednesday urged Aucklanders to support small hospitality businesses when the city emerges from lockdown.

"I think it's an appropriate time now to encourage people to support your little corner Vietnamese shop, or whatever - the other people who need help," he said.

"Go book a Christmas function or just do something with them - give them some encouragement to reopen on December the 1st and give them a little bit of a cash flow injection.

"We've only got three weeks between Wednesday the 1st and Christmas, or near enough to three weeks, and people need a cash injection to get them through the January period because half of Auckland will leave town.

"It's going to be a tough couple of months. Having said that… having had a 90-day break we're refreshed and ready to go - we've got to make the most of the next six months and no one knows how to party like HQ."

Molloy is an outspoken vaccination advocate. In a scathing Facebook post last week, he described anti-vaxxers as "twats" who spread misinformation from "pretend sources". 

In September, he told the NZ Herald he would only let vaccinated workers directly interact with customers. Molloy also said he'd only let immunised customers into the bar, something that's since become mandatory under the traffic light system anyway.