Jacinda’s plan for pubs post-lockdown
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined what life will look down after lockdown in pubs and restaurants and it's provided some clues on the brave new world of post-COVID dining in Australia.
While international borders will remain closed and social distancing rules will remain in place, NZ has outlined a new way for pubs and restaurants to do business and it involves a return to old-school table service.
For the hospitality sector, it's based on what she's dubbed the three-S rule.
"So the three S's again are seated, separated, and single-server,'' Ms Ardern said.
In a statement, she outlined the new rules:
• SEATED: That means you can only have as many people in your venue as you can safely seat, and no one, regardless of venue size, can have more than 100. COVID-19 loves congregations. Congested bars have already produced a massive cluster in New Zealand and we must avoid another.
• SEPARATED: There must be social distance in a venue between people and tables.
• SINGLE SERVER: At every venue there must be table service, not people going up to counters, as this minimises contact and helps us to trace if we need to.
The purpose of having only one server in a restaurant will help reduce the risk of spread, and "high-contact surfaces" like Eftpos machines will be cleaned more regularly.
"Every alert level to fight COVID-19 is its own battle. When you win one, it doesn't mean the war is over,'' Ms Ardern said.
"In a nutshell, Level 2 is a safer normal, designed to get as many people back to work as possible and the economy back up and running in a safe way, made possible only by our collective actions at Levels 4 and 3 to beat the virus and break the chain of transmission."
Ms Ardern's tough measures to stop COVID-19 are sparking international attention, with the British Labour Party contrasting her approach with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a new campaign.
New Zealand's approach remains slightly different to Australia, as our neighbours have not gone down the path of the COVIDSafe app.
But the Northern Territory has outlined a plan to reopen pubs using similar arrangements that NZ is adopting on May 15.
There will be a strict two-hour time limit on going to the pub and all alcohol must be served with a meal in the Top End.
A 1.5-metre social distancing rule will also remain in place forcing pubs and restaurants to remove tables in some instances to provide more space in dining areas.
Three weeks later, on June 5, Territorians can head back to the pub for a beer without the 2-hour time limit and TABs will also reopen.
However, the basic social distancing laws and increased hygiene and handwashing are here to stay in NZ and in Australia.
"At alert level 2 playing it safe means two metres from strangers, but in your workplace or places where you're around people you know or people we can contact trace later, we can live with less,'' Ms Ardern said.
"It is very unlikely that we have hunted down every single case of COVID-19. If stray cases start new chains of transmission we might not find them for a month so we all need to stay on guard. Level 2 has been designed to get as many people back to work as possible and get the economy back up and running but in the safest way possible."
In New Zealand, nightclubs and dance venues will remain closed under the planned Level 2 restrictions to be finalised by cabinet.
Hairdressers will also be allowed to reopen as long as staff are wearing personal protection equipment.
Professional sports such as rugby and netball will be cleared to start up again but stadium crowds remain banned.
Schools, universities and childcare centres will also re-open under the level 2 restrictions if the NZ cabinet signs off on the plan outlined by Prime Minister Ardern.
New Zealand's cabinet will also consider allowing indoor gatherings up to maximum of 100.
Outdoor gatherings - which were previously limited to 500 - are now also going to be limited to a maximum of 100.
New Zealanders will also be able to fly domestically.
"A trip from Wellington to Napier to see your mum is fine, a trip from Wellington to Napier to go to a big conference with an open bar is not fine,'' Ms Ardern said.
Domestic flights are also likely to be considered by national cabinet shortly.
It will meet on Friday amid expectations that plans will be put in place to lift restrictions on gatherings to allow for meetings of up to 10 people.
Originally published as Jacinda's plan for pubs post-lockdown