The Restaurant Association is calling on the Government to revise its level 4 restrictions should the country be moved into a more stringent lockdown.
Fears of an upgraded and extended lockdown are swirling ahead of the Government's announcement today as more cases of community transmission are uncovered.
A survey of Restaurant Association members has found more than 50 per cent are in favour of contactless takeaways delivery should New Zealand return to level 4 lockdown.
The association wants the industry to be granted permission to remain open for contactless delivery through all alert levels. This would save thousands of jobs.
"Delivery options continue to be made available to other businesses such as online retail and supermarkets. Our industry has already proven it can operate a safe contactless service at level 3, so we see no reason these couldn't be extended to level 4," said Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois.
Around 67 per cent of the industry are able to offer takeaway at level 3.
"We're looking for options, if we were to head into level 4, to keep the industry somewhat ticking along," Bidois told the Herald.
A blanket ban was put in place for hospitality through alert level 4 in March, which meant 98 per cent of businesses had no way to generate revenue, Bidois said.
Although more than half of hospitality businesses surveyed supported allowing takeaways should there be a return to alert level 4, 14 per cent said they needed more support and a wage subsidy to make trading at level 4 viable.
Within the Restaurant Association membership, more than 1000 jobs have already been lost and 50 businesses have closed since the first round of lockdown. The association anticipates the actual number across the industry to be much higher - and more closures to follow as the wage subsidy comes to an end next month.
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It has been calling for an extension and more fiscal support for the sector since March.
"When you look at the effects the first level 4 had on our sector - five weeks with no revenue coming in - it was devastating for the industry. There were thousands of jobs lost and we saw business closures.
"If we head into another level 4, those businesses that were able to hang on will certainly be facing a challenging time and I would question whether they would be able to remain viable," Bidois said.
The industry had "unmitigated success with contactless food delivery" after the creation and introduction of Alert Level 3 operation guidelines, she said.
"These guidelines set out how food and beverage businesses can implement safe contactless delivery programmes. It is our view that should we return to alert level 4, the Government removes the restriction on contactless food delivery and takes steps to ensure it can continue."
David Meagher, owner of Mount Albert restaurant Sal Rose Italian Restaurant & Bar, has been an advocate for takeaway trading since the last lockdown.
Meagher said it meant the difference between being able to keep staff or not.
"You can't just close down for 5-6 weeks and pay your staff and hang on to everyone. We were fortunate that because of the wage subsidy I didn't have to lay anyone off," Meagher told the Herald.
"Click and collect of takeaways that's not going to be the lifeline but it is something and as long as [lockdown] doesn't drag on forever it's a form of income and form of cashflow coming in."
Meagher said even at level 3, the government needed to follow the UK government and introduce some form of vouchers for savings discounts to encourage people to buy takeaways to help businesses stay afloat during challenging times.
"Food is an essential service and why is it that just the supermarkets and dairies are able to open. It's like saying we're not trusted enough to follow the precautions, which we do."
Under level 3, Sal Rose is able to make between 30 and 40 per cent of its regular turnover. The ability to at least make this under level 4 would make a big difference, he said.