Two days after Auckland’s new “three domes” alert level, it has not been an easy road for reopened hospitality businesses.
Staff are arguing with clients to follow strict rules and even control abuse, while working with a small team.
Auckland residents have been indulging in coffee, food and treats after five weeks in the house.
It’s been a tough time and Unite Union National Secretary John Crocker said takeout staff, like essential grocery and healthcare workers, are bearing the brunt.
“Some customers are losing it, they are impatient. They are acting like they are acting like they are almost addicted to some of these products,” he said.
“And when you have someone who has been waiting a long time and has a strange need for this product, they are acting quite inappropriate and irrational, and it is getting dangerous in some places.”
He said the union has referred abuse cases to the police.
Some fast food outlets were flooded after reopening and the large number of customers, along with the extra precautions that staff must take to stay safe, is increasing wait times.
And after five weeks of waiting, a little more is proving too much for some.
“Some of the staff are used to getting drunk on Friday and Saturday nights, but we are seeing that is more widespread, 24 hours a day.
“In a sense, the staff is safer, because they only have the drive-thru open and they are inside the building.
“So you don’t have to face clients that closely most of the time, but then the aggression increases.
“So there is an element of being more secure and an element of being more exposed at the same time.”
The reopening came with a series of rules that companies must enforce: contactless pickup, drop off or driving, physical distancing, mandatory use of masks and contact tracing.
Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois said Auckland businesses that rely on face-to-face sponsorship have been completely excluded from trading for 66 of the 544 days since last year’s close.
“Even though many of our companies are welcoming their customers back to companies under the rules of distancing, the smiles that are seen on the faces of the industry hide a lot of anxiety and stress that these business owners have been through. currently facing and still facing as a result of a pandemic. “
The association has published a roadmap to help the industry after the Covid-19 crisis, after meeting with the Government.
His eight suggestions include an extension of the wage subsidy and the elimination of the GST for diners.
On the streets of Auckland’s Panmure, cafe owners say local support is helping them get through.
Colombo Cafe manager Buddima told RNZ it was great to see the cafeteria regulars return.
“Yesterday was busy, actually, because all the neighbors and locals support us and help us get back to normal.”
For Sharon, the owner of Cafe With No Name, local support has kept her high.
“Yesterday was crazy, we have some really loyal customers, and yesterday they were all here wanting coffee and some food.
“We have had to really try to diversify this time and go beyond the limits of what we normally do, providing meal kits and cooked meals.”
New Zealand Spirits Council Executive Director Bridget MacDonald said she is supporting her local media now more than ever.
“Having some cash in the box means that companies can keep their staff on board, and we really need to make sure people keep their jobs,” he said.
“Businesses have pretty high overheads, so if there’s money in the box, they can pay their bills.
John Crocker said that customers should be prepared for the service to be a little slower.
“Realize that the staff are giving you what you want and they are doing the best they can,” he said.
“And there will be a delay. There will be a delay, because there are other clients who are thinking exactly the same as you.
“And there will be a delay because the staff has to keep everyone safe.
“That’s part of the cost. We are not at level 1, this is level 3.”
“Yes, you can, in a way, have whatever you want, but they are serious restrictions.
“You have to understand that and be patient and understanding.”
So the next time you go to buy your flat white or fries, think about the person who makes it for you.
Follow the rules, be nice, and maybe give them some advice.