Whanganui's hospitality sector has spent the weekend adapting to new Covid-19 guidelines as the country's response to the virus ramps up.

Malcolm Whitlock, the owner of the Citadel in Castlecliff, said he and his staff were ensuring all the "touchy-feely" aspects of the restaurant were kept to a minimum.

"We're maintaining a two-metre spread between tables, and every person has to register with a time and date on entry," he said.

"We've got hand sanitiser everywhere, salt and pepper shakers are off the tables, and people have to help themselves to water.


"I might have to turn from a restaurant to a hand sanitiser distribution centre if this continues."

Whitlock said the local community had continued to support The Citadel, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

"The church next door had a small service next door today, and they all came over to show their support, which is amazing.

"This isn't purely about dollars and cents, this is about the community."

Stellar Bar manager Charlie Meyerhoff said business had been down by "at least three-quarters" over the weekend compared to this time last year.

"Like everyone, we are following the latest guidelines," Meyerhoff said.

The Citadel's Roxi Douglas, Malcolm Whitlock and son Hunter have implemented a two-metre spread between tables.
The Citadel's Roxi Douglas, Malcolm Whitlock and son Hunter have implemented a two-metre spread between tables.

"We had a queue of people waiting to get into our nightclub last night, but obviously with the hundred-person occupancy rule in place, most of them couldn't be allowed in.

"It was a weird feeling to see a great big empty dance floor on a Saturday night.


"In terms of the registry book, I'd say 80 per cent of people who've come in have said it's a great idea."

The gaming component of Stellar also had to be monitored, Meyerhoff said.

"We've turned off every second machine in the gaming lounge, and all the machines are being cleaned as well." ALERT_STAGES

Owner of Orange Cafe, Peter Huijs, said most of his customers in the last few days had been people from out of town.

"Foot traffic on the [Victoria] Ave has been noticeably slow, and usually we get absolutely hammered in the weekends," Huijs said.

"We're aware of the situation out there, and we're aware of our responsibilities as a cafe serving members of the public.

"We're losing money head-over-foot at the moment, and we're anxious about what's going on out there."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Meyerhoff said that members of the Whanganui hospitality industry had met last week to discuss plans to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

"The one good thing to come out of this is that we've worked together as a local industry to make the best of things."

What you need to know
What you need to know