The $11 billion hospitality industry is bracing itself for business closures and job losses.
After the last lockdown, 50 businesses were forced to close, putting about a 1000 people out of work.
Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois is now calling for the industry to have its own minister given the billions of dollars the industry brings to the local economy.
"Despite the enormous contribution our industry makes to the economy we are still lacking our own dedicated ministry.
"For a sector that generated annual sales in excess of $11 billion and employed more than 133,000 people in 2019, to not have a dedicated minister to call on for support, means that Government policy regularly misses the mark when considered against the realities of our sector."
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Level 3 means all Auckland based hospitality businesses are closed to the public other than through contactless delivery and pickup.
For the rest of the country, level 2 meant restaurants and cafes needed to have diners seated, separated and served by a single server. Patrons were limited to 100.
"This is of course a devastating blow for those businesses already struggling from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown and border closures," Bidois said.
"Putting in place the regulations is not the principle issue for our members given ours is an industry that already operates under rigorous food control plans.
"With the short notice period many restaurants have been left with hundreds of dollars of unsaleable, perishable food. We are working with our members to help them redistribute this to food banks but as worthy as those organisations are this is lost revenue at a time when we're already suffering sustained losses of income."
Having to put on additional servers, maintaining distancing at level 2 and close premises at level 3 meant businesses "were once again managing diminishing returns" even if only for a short period.
"We are calling on Kiwi diners to continue to support their favourite establishments. Grab a coffee from your local café and order a contactless takeout if you're in Auckland.
"Outside of Auckland, we would strongly encourage people to dine out in the knowledge that it is completely safe to do so."
Bidois was also urging the Government to deliver additional fiscal relief it had been asking for since coming out of level 3 in May.
"Among our membership alone we have had more than 50 businesses close, which is around 1000 jobs losses, and we are anticipating more closures as the end of the wage subsidy draws near, so we need the next Government to know its priorities for hospitality early.
"The hospitality industry contributes $11 billion to the economy, making it one of New Zealand's largest industries.
"Despite being an enduring powerhouse of the New Zealand economy, policy made for the sector, in particular for hospitality, is fragmented, impractical and often devoid of the everyday realities of operations."
This became increasingly problematic throughout the Covid-19 pandemic response and something we urgently need addressed by the incoming government, Bidois said.