Kaitaia's Collard Tavern is open, effectively as a restaurant, under Covid-19 alert level 2 rules, but owner Stan Day isn't expecting to be rushed off his feet.

The tavern was permitted to open to serve meals, he said, providing it complied with the level 2 rules, including maintaining the required distance between groups of customers.

"We'll see how it goes, and if we need to we can set up the function room," he said.

"We won't be able to seat a hell of a lot of people, and I'm not expecting it to be very productive or profitable, but we'll be doing better than if we were still closed."


Mr Day, who bought the tavern almost three years ago, said he was in a better position than many business owners in that he had managed to salt some money away to fund planned improvements. That work was now on hold, but the savings had played a big part in enabling him to retain his full staff, including part-timers and casuals, and to open at the first opportunity.

"I'm luckier than a lot of people," he said.

Plans were being made to open the doors to the gaming machines on Thursday next week, albeit with a good deal of work to be done to ensure compliance with the government's rules.

Mr Day's other business, Melba St gym Club Physical, also opened today for the first time since the Covid-19 crisis began, although he wasn't sure how many customers he could fit in within the rules.

"It's hard to say how we're going to get on," he said, "but we'll open the doors and see what happens."