Some hospo businesses 'opening the doors to lose money' in level 2

Previous rounds of level 2 have been “a nightmare, horrible for staff”, Hamilton restaurant and nightclub owner John Lawrenson says.
Mark Taylor/Stuff
Previous rounds of level 2 have been “a nightmare, horrible for staff”, Hamilton restaurant and nightclub owner John Lawrenson says.

One Hamilton hospitality figure says he is “completely hamstrung” in alert level 2, while another will open his doors expecting to lose money.

Lawrenson Group chief executive John Lawrenson​, whose businesses include the Furnace steakhouse and Coyotes nightclub, said level 2, or a revised level 2.5, was the worst of all worlds.

“I actually prefer level 3, we get a wage subsidy for my staff then,” he said.

Opening during the previous level 2 was “a nightmare, horrible for staff”.

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“At level 2, we are completely hamstrung.”

The wage subsidy was only available under alert levels 4 and 3, he said.

Confusion over whether the alert level structure would be the same as last year was not helping and he was critical of the Government for its handling of the potential level change.

“They have only had 18 months to work this out.”

“We are opening the doors to lose money. But we are losing money hand over fist anyway,” The Cook owner Chris Rollit says.
Stuff
“We are opening the doors to lose money. But we are losing money hand over fist anyway,” The Cook owner Chris Rollit says.

The Cook owner Chris Rollit​ said opening the pub doors at level 2 would be marginal.

“It is a lot more labour-intensive and we are opening the doors to lose money. But we are losing money hand over fist anyway.”

Rollit said one key reason for opening was keeping staff engaged, especially in an environment where it was harder to recruit.

The business had used cash reserves, and was “really hurting” and under pressure.

“There needs to be a far wider support package than what is on offer.”

Some businesses will fold if there are longer lockdowns, Hospitality NZ Waikato branch president Melissa Renwick says.
MARK TAYLOR/STUFF
Some businesses will fold if there are longer lockdowns, Hospitality NZ Waikato branch president Melissa Renwick says.

Hospitality New Zealand Waikato branch president Melissa Renwick​ would welcome any move down the alert levels.

“It allows more venues to open, bums on seats spending money.”

She believed most Hamilton hospitality businesses able to open at level 2 would “give it a crack” but would bear higher wage costs.

More targeted funding should be made available, she said, and the spectre of lockdowns being in place over Christmas was a nightmare scenario.

There was no doubt a longer lockdown would see businesses fold, Renwick said.

“Possibly for a number of people, it would be one last straw too many.”