- September 11, 2021
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Manawatū business owners adhering to strict rules under alert level 2 say the restrictions will lead to a drop in income as fewer customers come though their doors.
The new level 2, which came into place on Wednesday, halved the number of people allowed at an indoor venue to 50, doubled social distancing indoors to 2 metres, and kept masks mandatory for many locations.
Anchor Barbershop owner Tammam Tamim said social distancing meant only 10 people could be in the Palmerston North shop, and since five of those would be staff it cut the number of people they could see in a day.
At the same time demand was so high, Anchor was already fully booked until Sunday and the appointments kept pouring in, he said.
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Tamim said the stricter rules made it tougher for businesses to make money, even with the high demand, but felt they were necessary.
The mandatory masks were probably the biggest challenge for hairdressers and barbers, he said.
“It can get in the way when doing edges, or cutting around the edges. And when you get people with moustaches and beards… what then?”
Since there were no clear guidelines, Tamim decided to take a common-sense approach and move the straps or mask as needed, but to have the client help keep it in place as much as possible.
Darryl McLaughlin, owner of Flex Fitness Palmerston North, said the transition between alert levels went relatively smoothly since the gym had kept many of the requirements in place between lookdowns.
“We’re just glad to be open again, and I know our members were itching to get back into the gym.”
McLaughlin said the biggest difference this time around was a few less machines available, due to the extra spacing requirements.
Flex staff spent four hours on Tuesday shifting everything around to comply, and placing the less popular machines in tapped off barriers to further separate different stations.
McLaughlin said the mask mandate could also cause some confusion with gyms users.
Some might not know while the government guidelines required them to be worn while moving around the gym, they could be taken off while exercising.
Rec Room owner Brandon Rennie said the Feilding gym was set up with plenty of space and little equipment, even under normal circumstances.
”Classes will be our biggest issue, since they have up to 20 people in each.”
Rennie said staff had to carefully plan the classes to minimise overlap when they were changing over, and so people could space out without getting too close to other gym users not in the class.
Arranged Marriage owner Sree Nair said there was little to no profit in opening the Indian restaurant with a 50-person limit.
“The government made the right decision making it stricter [because of the Delta variant], but it will be tough for us.”
Nair said the main reason Arranged Marriage would open anyway was for the customers, and to keep the staff employed.
“We need to be open to keep looking after our staff, we can’t leave anyone behind.”
While Nair prided himself on making customers feel welcome, for practical reasons the restaurant will have a strict booking system, with bookings limited to around an hour.
Nair said the restaurant had to make the most of the reduced capacity, particularly because costs had gone up during the pandemic for some ingredients and supplies, due to supply line disruptions or high demand.
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