WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Wellington pub owner Matt McLaughlin all smiled when a bartender poured the first beer in his company in two months, but he was still worried about problems because the industry was being hit by the industry. corona virus.
The bar in New Zealand reopens Thursday, May 21, following on from retailers and schools to complete the country emerged from a tight locking COVID-19 which began at the end of March.
While welcoming the move, McLaughlin said the bars and nightclubs would have a difficult time adjusting to the era physical distance and contact tracking.
He said Wellington would struggle to maintain the vibrant nightlife that had seen it dubbed “the coolest little capital in the world.”
“We have no performances, no theater, no films, no All Black Tests, and we are going to enter winter, so our market will be completely squeezed,” he told Agence France-Presse (AFP) at the Panhead Bar- it’s in central Wellington.
Kevin McAree, who runs The Tasting Room’s upscale wineries, agrees.
“I think we have to be realistic and say it will be enough rubbish for the next 6 months,” he said.
“People’s habits have changed [during lockdown]. They are accustomed to having a good bottle of wine at home and spending a little more on food that can be brought home.
“But finally they want to get out and have fun.”
‘Here is the prize’
The pub is officially permitted to open from 8am on Thursday, although as McLaughlin said, “Nobody really chokes to drink beer at that hour.”
Instead, most bars target the business lunch, opening at 11:30 am, although the crowd is still thin in central Wellington because many office workers continue to operate from home.
McAree’s Tasting Room advertises guava and lime on the blackboard outside, but the thought of an enticing Guinness pint makes Jim Hall come in for midday refreshment.
“I usually never drink beer at lunch, but it’s good, it feels like it’s back to normal, you know?” he told AFP.
The 70-year-old man appeared in the pub after taking advantage of relaxed travel restrictions to fly from Auckland and visit his grandchildren.
“We have done a difficult one and this is the prize,” he said between fat gulps.
New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, has recorded only 21 deaths due to the corona virus, mostly due to initial lockdown.
While domestic quarantine has ended, the bar must limit the number to less than 100 people, enforce physical distance, and record personal details to help contact tracking if there is an outbreak of COVID-19.
While pubs that serve old customers like Hall will be affected, McLaughlin says its biggest impact is on places that cater to people who are younger and late at night.
“The business model is really outside the window,” he said.
The first big test of the new rules will come this weekend on the entertainment strip of Wellington Courtenay Place.
The Wellington Council has closed the area for traffic on Friday and Saturday nights, anticipating that large numbers will spill onto the road when they queue outside the premises.
McLaughlin said it was also possible that the weekend crowd would be very low because people were still nervous about gathering in public, with the long-term picture even more unclear.
“These are all crystal balls staring at this point, we just have to wait and see,” he said. – Rappler.com