Hospitality is being sacrificed by the government when it doesn't need to be - Va Bene owner 'devastated'

The AM Show 09/11/2021

WATCH: Va Bene restaurant co-owner Paul Patterson is 'devastated' that hospitality has been left behind after Auckland has been confirmed to move to step 2 of level 3 from midnight tonight.

Many of those in the hospitality industry have pleaded with the government to allow for at minimum 'al fresco' or outdoor dining to be allowed for their venues so they can recoup some of the losses this lockdown has caused.

After statements made by the Prime Minister stating that it wouldn't be 'viable' for many hospitality businesses implying it wouldn't be worth it for them, the industry has felt miss-understood and left behind.

Hospitality won't be able to re-open to customers until step 3 of level 3 or we enter into the traffic light system. Both could be weeks away, with the government caving yesterday announcing a soft 'freedom day' of the 29th of November. Many businesses still feeling uncertain that the date will actually stick.

Jacinda Ardern made public claims that restaurants wouldn't be ready to open up in such a way, though Auckland restaurant Va Bene co-owner Paul Patterson says that's simply not true, stating they were ready months ago.

"I think it'd be easier to control than retail so I don't really understand why we're not able to open at the same time."

Patterson says he's aged about 10 years in the last month while struggling to sleep and keep up with the hemorrhaging costs of this lockdown.

"[It's] basically week to week at the moment. We're not covering rent in takeaway sales.

"We are fortunate enough that we are getting some help from the Government in the country that we live in but it's… not going all the way."  

The loss in revenue is in the hundreds of thousands for many businesses like Va Bene, and there seems little comfort in waiting several more weeks for still limited trade.

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