Traffic pulled out of parking lots and onto the streets in parts of Wairarapa today as people got their take-out solution as the region moved to Covid-19 alert level 3.
Hospitality companies, large and small, have returned to offering contactless service, with hamburgers and chicken nuggets on the minds of many people in fast food lines.
A woman said RNZ he had to call the police because the McDonald’s line was blocking traffic through a central roundabout.
It was something that McDonald’s Masterton owner Andre du Preez hoped for after having to engage police for traffic management during alert level 3 last year.
But he’s happy to be open for multiple reasons, including pulling his staff out of their homes.
“The staff get bored at home.”
“People are sitting there … how much Netflix can you really watch?”
Du Preez said that seeing the smile of his staff was “very good” and “a major factor” in the opening.
While he thought that trading at Level 3 was easy, he preferred to see the Wairarapa region at Alert Level 2, mainly for business purposes.
“I think Wairarapa is a bubble within a bubble.”
“Our integrity of this virus is very good to keep it out,” he said.
However, at Kāinga Eatery, which opened only three months ago in the nearby town of Carterton, customer traffic was much slower.
The parking lot outside was nearly full, but owner Shelley Rutene said only a few customers had approached her.
Most go to the supermarket.
It was what he expected, but he thought that coffee sales would be more popular.
Rutene is happy to be at Level 3 in a personal sense and for everyone’s safety, but fears that it is an untenable situation for her business.
He thought about not opening at Level 3, but decided to do so after receiving advice from other business owners.
“Another reason to open was for my staff to reconnect with each other.
“It was important to me to do that and I decided to do it,” he said.
On the streets of Masterton, the passage to Level 3 is insignificant for most people.
Vicky Lewis said her bubble was “kind of like doing business as usual, business as usual” with conclusions not being a priority.
“We’re really not rushing to get anything.”
Sally Morris agreed, saying she was in the coffee scene, but until she could enjoy it instead of takeout, she would just cook at home.
But she was eager to see Wairarapa move to alert level 2 soon.
“It’s hotter now and it would be nice to just get out of the house,” Morris said.
Hannah Sullivan wanted people to support local businesses rather than big companies, having ventured out for a morning coffee.
She thought it would be nice if the region could be at level 2 next week, but “only if it is safe.”
“A little more would probably affect business a lot and if there are no cases in the region, I don’t see why we shouldn’t do that.”