- November 21, 2021
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Grant Robertson brought certainty to hospitality owners in Auckland. Photo / Alex Burton
Restaurant and cafe doors across Auckland are “very close” to reopening according to Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, after being shut for three months.
In his first trip to Auckland since the Covid-19 Delta outbreak, Robertson heard first-hand of the Auckland hospitality industry’s “frustration” in a day of meetings in the city.
“It makes a real difference to be able to be here, hear directly from them and I will be able to take away what I’ve heard,” he said.
While there has been frustration, Robertson said he had not heard much anger.
Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois met with Robertson and outlined the need for support.
“We have met with the minister recently where we outlined the need for support for hospitality, in particular those businesses in Auckland that have been the hardest hit.”
However, his trip did bring some certainty, with Robertson confirming hospitality venues in Auckland are “very close” to reopening.
“The businesses I’ve been talking to today are preparing for that week, they are starting to do their ordering and that’s the right thing to do.
“The certainty that we can provide, we have provided and from their Auckland businesses will be able to trade in a much wider than they have been up to now,” he said.
Robertson confirmed more businesses will be able to open once Cabinet confirms Auckland’s move into the traffic light system which is set for November 29.
At the red level, businesses will be able to open, however Robertson hoped the region could move to orange quickly.
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said that the minister has a good understanding of the frustration and problems that Auckland businesses have experienced.
“He believes that the ‘traffic light’ system will be more enabling for businesses as opposed to the current system that is designed to prevent activity,” Barnett said.
“I have no doubt that Auckland will be open and operating by December 1. I would also suggest that the continued pursuit of vaccination should mean that Auckland will move past the point of needing to repeat lockdowns.”
In the red level, hospitality is able to open, however, there is a 100-person maximum with 1m distancing as long as vaccination certificates are used.
Robertson said as Finance Minister over the last four years he has spent time speaking and listening with business owners.
“I think the level of support the Government has provided to business over the last 20 month has been substantial. We’ve been there, alongside businesses.
“I’ll keep meeting with people, keep talking and listening.”