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New Zealand Shut for Easter

New Zealand Shut for Easter

A national survey this week of Hospitality establishments shows that just over half are planning to close on Good Friday and over a third plan to close on Easter Sunday.

Hospitality New Zealand surveyed members about their trading intentions for this weekend and say that feedback from the industry indicates complex liquor laws and the exorbitant public holiday wage costs mean that for many restaurant and bar owners opening is increasingly not viable.

“This leaves New Zealanders, whether they are staying at home for the weekend or travelling, and overseas visitors alike with diminishing options for eating out and for entertainment on those days” said Hospitality New Zealand Deputy CEO Sara Tucker. “The new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act requires that for someone to have a drink at any restaurant, bar or entertainment venue such as a movie theatre on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, they must be present for the purpose of dining, and furthermore that it is no more than one hour prior to, or one hour after dining”.

While the public may see the idea of bars and restaurants ‘time-tagging’ people when they arrive as farcical, Hospitality New Zealand say stringent policing and the severe business-threatening repercussions of non-compliance with the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, mean that licensees are so scared of inadvertently breaking the law that they are considering such measures.

It is not only the liquor laws that are leading the trend to close; the cost of paying staff on public holidays is prohibitive. Wellington licensee Jeremy Smith says he has made the hard decision to close because of the cost of being open, coupled with the complicated liquor laws. “It’s all just too hard” said Mr Smith, “and while it is certainly costly for us to close, the risk of being open is greater in terms both of losing money and of falling foul of the alcohol legislation”.

ENDS

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