Customers grabbing a coffee or getting a meal at the food hall are all required to hand over their details for contact tracing - but buying a pair of shoes or top and different rules apply.

Hospitality New Zealand is calling for more clarity around the rules which have left consumers confused because they are much more stringent for food and beverage outlets compared to the retail sector who did not have to do any contact tracing.

However some companies had taken it upon themselves to collect more details with reports from customers of fast food chains asking for their name, phone number and address even though the rules state it is not necessary.

Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White said she could see why customers were confused as there were different guidelines for a similar experience depending on whether they were classed as retail or hospitality.

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"The same person could have visited a shoe shop five minutes ago but within the same complex they go to a cafe then they need to do all the contact tracing even if it is a takeaway coffee," she said.

"It is different for retail, but when you step into a food and beverage all the tracking and tracing and three s' (seated, separation and single server) apply."

Counter service was only allowed for takeaway orders.

A Restaurant Association spokesperson said the rules stated that anyone having a contactless experience such as drive-through or kerbside pickup would certainly not need to have their data collected - but there was a grey area if it was needed if they entered a takeaway shop to collect an order.

The changes in rules such as making a single server per table mandatory had made it harder for restaurant owners operating in what was already a challenging environment, she said.

Hospitality NZ understood discussions were underway around being more lenient around counter pick and up and takeaways - something the organisation supported wholeheartedly. Currently once the consumer steps in the door - the cafe or restaurant is required by the Ministry of Health to collect a name, phone number or email and address.

If the rules around counter service were eased it could also benefit bars when they were allowed to open their doors for the first time in eight weeks on Thursday as they might also be allowed to serve drinks over the counter along with providing the seating offering.

Whereas under the existing level 2 guidelines for the hospitality sector - the major change for bars and restaurants was that people could meet for drinks rather than the sole purpose of having a meal as was required the first week of level 2.

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But Mike Lewis, who owns Freida Margolis wine bar in Grey Lynn, was excited to be able to open his bar finally after having no income for the past three months.

Lewis said he was doing everything he could to keep patrons safe including ensure there was adequate spacing between guests and that they had scanning technology so they could contact trace and introducing a booking system so customers did not have to queue in the street.

However they were not planning to rebook small intimate gigs again until the country's alert system dropped to level 1.

Current level 2 rules for hospitality sector:

• Cafés, restaurants and bars can open if they are serving meals

• Customers must be seated, groups separated by a one metre, and served by a single person

• Each customer must order a meal

• Each group of customers is capped at 10 people.

• There must be one metre between all groups of customers, or between individuals not in groups

• There is a maximum of 100 customers in each distinct area

• Records must be kept to enable contact tracing of staff and customers. Covid19.govt.nz (external link) has more information about contact tracing

• All other health, safety and hygiene requirements must be met

• Note these restrictions don't apply to takeaways, accommodation services, food and drink for workers, vending machines, or to customers in cinemas or theatres

Source: Business.govt.nz