New Plymouth nightlife lovers expected to 'flood' back into bars under traffic light system

New Plymouth bars are set to have music blasting and dance floors full this weekend, and Peggy Gordons’ Celtic Bar manager Mark Lyes is preparing.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Stuff
New Plymouth bars are set to have music blasting and dance floors full this weekend, and Peggy Gordons’ Celtic Bar manager Mark Lyes is preparing.

New Plymouth bars are getting ready to open their dance floors for the first time in more than three months – and they're “planning for a big one”.

On Friday, Taranaki moves into orange under the Covid-19 traffic light system, allowing bars and nightclubs using vaccination certificates to operate almost like they were before the country went into lockdown at 11.59pm on August 17.

Bartender Maddie Gibbs and Lyes were able to put their ‘live band' sign out on Tuesday for the first time in months.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Stuff
Bartender Maddie Gibbs and Lyes were able to put their ‘live band' sign out on Tuesday for the first time in months.

The only difference will be people who cannot show the passport and ID to prove they are fully vaccinated will not be allowed in, New Plymouth's Peggy Gordon's Celtic Bar manager Mark Lyes said.

“It's basically going back to normal,” Lyes said. “This could actually be quite big.”

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The last weekend Taranaki nightlife could open was August 14, as the country moved into lockdown days later.

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Lyes said he and bar staff were “planning for a big one” after Monday's announcement, with local band Faultline playing on Friday and Saturday.

"We're really excited to get back to normal.”

However, he expected that would take a bit of getting used to, and was concerned about “everyone trying to flood back in”.

Lyes said while they used to only ask for ID from people who looked under 25, they would now be asking for everyone's, which will mean for “a lot more work".

People have been “waiting a while” for this weekend, and Good Home owner David Stones is expecting a busy one.
Simon O'Connor/Stuff
People have been “waiting a while” for this weekend, and Good Home owner David Stones is expecting a busy one.

David Stones, who owns the Good Home in New Plymouth, also had concerns about the extra work under the new system, and asked customers to be “patient”.

“It's going to be very busy, and it's going to be a bit of a challenge,” Stones said.

He had also already had a DJ booked for Friday night, and a live band for Saturday.

“People have been waiting for a while,” Stones said. “So bring your vaccination passport and enjoy the dance floor.”

A post on New Plymouth's Our Place Bar & Function Hire social media page said it would be open on Friday and Saturday.

Colonel Malones Restaurant & Bar in Stratford will soon have some entertainment lined up, manager Grant Best said.
BRODY DOLAN/STUFF
Colonel Malones Restaurant & Bar in Stratford will soon have some entertainment lined up, manager Grant Best said.

While no bands or DJs had been set in stone for Stratford's Colonel Malones Restaurant & Bar, manager Grant Best said he would soon be working on it.

Best said he had been waiting to hear what was happening with the new system and restrictions, and it had been “impossible to plan for anything” until Monday’s announcement.

“But now we can get back into gear."