After nearly 7 weeks in COVID-19 lockdown, we've finally made it to Alert Level 2 – Congratulations New Zealand! While it's important to still be vigilant and precautionary, we'll start to see our towns and cities come back to life with the opening of restaurants, cafes, and bars in the upcoming days.
But, as we all know, Level 2 does not mean back to life as we know it, which is why we're here to help explain what to expect dining in Level 2.
If your venue or a venue you know is planning something exciting in Level 2, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Zealand will officially move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on Wednesday 13th May 2020. Effectively; Thursday 14th May. However, certain aspects of Level 2 will be rolled out gradually.
On Thursday 12th, restaurants and cafes can open.
Bars (which primarily sell alcohol) can only open on Thursday 12th if every customer is served a meal.
Otherwise, bars, along with pubs, can open under their usual consumption-operations on Thursday 21st May.
The 3 S's
During the official announcement of Level 2 guidelines Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced The 3 S's for hospitality. These are the requirements that must be adhered to in order to operate in Level 2.
1. Seated. All patrons in a restaurant, bar, pub, cafe, club, or eatery must be seated. Cocktail parties are currently on pause.
2. Separated. Diners must be separated to adhere to social distancing rules. To help with this, only 100 patrons max. will be allowed to dine in a facility at one time, and tables must be spaced 2 metres apart.
3. Single servers. Each table must only have one server taking their order and delivering the dishes to their table. This will help with contact tracing and the overall spread of any germs or bacteria. All venues must be table-serve only.
When visiting an eatery, you will be asked for your contact details as part of contract tracing. They will most likely ask for your basic details such as name, phone number, and email address. This is to get in contact with you if anyone who has contracted the virus, has been in the same vicinity as you during your visit.
If you don't want to provide your contact details to a venue for contact tracing, stay home.
Under Level 2, indoor gatherings are capped at 100 patrons, excluding staff. This goes for hospitality venues too. As we know, social gatherings are also limited to 10 people. So, what does this mean for group bookings?
You can book a group at a restaurant or eatery for 10 people max. Yes, the indoor gathering capacity is 100, but those 100 people will be socially distanced and not in close contact with each other. 10 people may be seated at the same table.
This will help greatly with any possible contact tracing required. Save those big celebrations for Level 1!
- We're still going contactless NZ. This means it's currently not plausible for things like salt, pepper, and sauces to stay laying out on a table in between patrons. If your table is lacking something, kindly ask your server and they'll be happy to help you out.
- On-trend with the contactless-ness, some restaurants may have payment guards up at the till or servers in extra PPE. If they feel safer that way, good for them.
- If the till looks particularly crowded with people waiting to pay, hang back at your table for a few moments. Give staff and other patrons plenty of room to pass by. Text a friend to recommend the restaurant, leave a review on your experience, check out the Dish Cult app to find your next restaurant visit – there's plenty to do while you wait!
- Restaurants are booked up. They're busy. And, they're working out the kinks of Level 2 procedures. Be kind. We all want things to return to normal, but to do that we must get through Level 2. Where you can, be patient and understanding to other patrons and staff.
Finally, enjoy your experience! You'll likely be dining with people outside of your initial bubble. Enjoy your time with them and the feeling of not having to cook a meal for once!