Coronavirus: The industry feeling 'forgotten' in Government's COVID-19 alert level 2 rules

Brunch and beers will be back under alert level 2 with restaurants, bars, and cafes allowed to reopen - but because venues can only invite customers in to sit down, a nightclub owner has been left disappointed. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled the official alert level 2 guidelines on Thursday, and explained how venues will have to abide by the three S's: seated, separated and a single server.

But with the danger of coronavirus lessening - just one new case was reported by the Ministry of Health on Thursday - night clubs like Danger Danger in Wellington say it's possible for customers to come in and dance safely.

"We could quite safely have people in each square having a little dance, having a little party; when they leave we clean it down, and invite the next 'bubble' up," owner Matt McLaughlin told Newshub.

The Government won't have a bar of it and McLaughlin is frustrated, telling Newshub: "They haven't listened to us at all. We feel like we're the forgotten industry."

Mass gatherings are allowed under level 2 but only up to 100 people for both indoors and outdoors.

McLaughlin says not allowing Kiwis into nightclubs is just going to force them onto the streets and have house parties where they won't be as easily monitored.

"Potentially people are going to be out at house parties, they're going to be on the street in uncontrolled environments where there's no contact tracing - we just don't think that's right."

Danger Danger owner Matt McLaughlin.
Danger Danger owner Matt McLaughlin. Photo credit: Newshub

People will need to check into hospitality venues either using apps or manually, and any messy queuing like what was seen outside Burger Fuel stores with the shift to level 3, is on the owner.

"Those who do not comply with these guidelines will be shut down and lose their ability to operate," the Prime Minister warned.

Gigs, weddings and funerals are allowed during level 2. But space, hygiene and recording who's there are a must, with Ardern reminding the country: "COVID loves congregations."

As for fitness and fun, playgrounds, gyms, pools, community sports and professional sport returns under level 2, but only domestic and there will be no packed stadiums.

"Every alert level is its own battle and even when you win one it doesn't mean that the war is over," Ardern said.

Classrooms and offices will open under level 2, but if working from home is working for you, then the Government wants you to keep at it.

Hongi will be up to iwi and level 2 marks the return of the hug - which Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield is anticipating.

"I'm looking forward to giving some of my more extended family and friends a careful hug, but for work colleagues and people I'm meeting for the first time, I'll probably be sticking to an elbow bump."

That's because the virus is still with us, as the Prime Minister cautioned.

"It is very unlikely that we have hunted down every single case of COVID-19."

And until then, there's still a long way to go, she said.

"We think of ourselves as halfway down Everest - I think it's clear that no one wants to hike back up that peak. The descent is known to be even more dangerous, and so we need to proceed with caution."

Cabinet is set to make a decision next Monday about whether New Zealand is ready to shift out of alert level 3, and Newshub caught up with some Kiwis who revealed what they are most looking forward to when that time comes. 

"Tramping again and stuff like that," Newshub was told by one woman, while another said she just wants to "see people in person" again.

One man said he's looking forward to getting a coffee, having a sit-down and reading the paper, while another said he'll "go buy a pair of jeans from the Levi's shop".

They will be in luck, because under level 2, the Prime Minister said the current 'bubble' rule will end.

"You no longer need to stick to your bubble. You can begin seeing family and friends again."

And you'll be able to go anywhere you want across the country.

"Can't wait to get in the car and do a roadie," Newshub was told, while other Kiwis said they're looking forward to travelling to see their parents and extended family members.

And wherever you end up - home or away - museums, shops and malls will be open.

What's more, the country's collective overgrown mop tops can finally get lopped.

Staff in hair salons like Wellington favourite Jam will have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), however. But they say it's worth it.

Hairstylist Ben Bampton said it will make "100 percent difference".

"We're all looking forward to getting back to work and seeing some of our regular clients and just knocking out some mean haircuts and putting some money in the bank." 

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