With the exception of the Auckland region, the country will move down the lockdown ladder tonight, and this time alert level 2 comes with tougher rules.

credit card swipe through terminal, spending, consumer confidence, retail, hospitalityIndoor venues have a limit of 50 people and restaurant diners have to mostly remain seated. Photo: 123rf


Cinemas, restaurants, bars, and night clubs can open up, but indoor venues have a limit of 50 people and face coverings are mandatory in most public venues.

Kelly Rogers, who owns cinemas in Tauranga, Upper Hutt and Auckland, says it’ll be a different movie experience than people are used to.

“With the new protocols where there are fewer people able to be in the cinema at any one time, we’ll have bigger social distancing, so there’ll be two to three seats between everyone, maybe even more.”

People are required to wear a face covering inside shops and malls, and in bars and restaurants except when eating and drinking.

Rogers says the movies are still the perfect escape from level 2 life.

“It’s still a very safe way place to go out, you can sit in the dark, looking ahead, you don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to, you’re wearing your mask.

“The best way to see movies is to see them on the big screen and be out of the home.

“I think everyone’s waiting to get out and about and get back to as normal as they can.”

For Christchurch central’s Chi Chi Kitchen owner and chef Eugene Chang, it’s bittersweet.

“Anything is better than level 4 and 3,” he said.

“But on the other hand, we will be running at about 65 percent of full capacity. There’s a big gap between 100 percent and 65 percent.”

He said the cap of 50 diners was not an issue – but due to the size of the restaurant, distancing will be.

At restaurants and cafes, diners have to remain seated at their table other than entering or leaving the venue, using the bathroom or paying for their meal, and be physically separated from other customers by 1 metre.

“It’s really hard to keep groups one metre apart, so that means we’ve got to give up a certain number of tables to meet the regulations,” Chang said.

On the streets of Taranaki, Wellington and Ōtautahi, people most people RNZ spoke to are are backing the tougher rules.

Mackenzie District Mayor Graham Smith says it was s good news for the region’s ski fields after having the last two seasons dashed by lockdowns.

“It was a problem last year, it’s been a problem again this year and they need a really good season or two to get back on top of things.”

Paul Anderson, chief executive of NZ Ski – which operates Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt – said he as relieved the fields could reopen on Wednesday.

He said under the stricter hospitality rules, there would be less takeaway food and drink on offer.

“We’ll be encouraging guests to use the car like their base lodge,” he said. “Like in the old days, where you brought your own lunch and you went back to your car for lunch.

“We will have food and beverage facilities operating, but to avoid queuing up and physical distancing, we’re advising people use their car like their base lodge.”

‘Delta level 2’, as its being coined, takes effect for everywhere outside of Auckland from midnight tonight.