PM explains why hospitality restrictions remain as hairdressers open

Source: 1News

At Monday's post-Cabinet media conference Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked why Auckland's hospitality industry wouldn't be given the same freedoms as hairdressers next week.

Restaurant (file photo).

Ardern announced Auckland hairdressers and barbers would be allowed to open from Thursday November 25 to fully vaccinated customers.

Restaurants and bars continue to be restricted to takeaways and delivery, while places like gyms remain closed.

Ardern said part of the move was to allow those in the hairdressing industry to trial vaccine passes ahead of the whole country’s move to the traffic light system at 11.59pm on December 2.

“It [the hairdressing sector] is a group where, by default, the numbers are smaller, more confined, allowing us to safely test the vaccine pass system before we all move on December 3,” she said.

“Of all the groups we are able to open up, this is among the lower risk because the ones that we haven’t already opened up are all of hospitality, gyms, a wide range of close personal services.”

Ardern said hospitality businesses had also been given the certainty they were asking for, knowing the traffic light system in Auckland would be at the Red level from December 3.

The Government was looking to see if it could change councils’ bylaws to allow for al fresco dining, given Aucklanders are allowed to gather outdoors in groups of up to 25, she said.

But, there wasn’t an immediate “simple legislative fix” for it, Ardern added.

Earlier, ACT Party leader David Seymour criticised the Government's ongoing restrictions in Auckland.

"It would be safer for people to go to hospitality venues that are supervised and following the law than unofficial parties that are now widely reported," he said.

“The restrictions should not be kept while we await the traffic light system. If it’s coming with certainty, let’s make Step 3 part of the transition.

"If it’s uncertain, let’s have Step 3 while we wait."

Meanwhile, the Restaurant Association is welcoming the certainty of the December 3 date.

“After months of closure, a set date for the reopening of hospitality in Auckland is welcome and long overdue” CEO Marisa Bidois said.

“This will allow our businesses to start their planning for the short period of time they will be able to open before Aucklanders leave the city over the Christmas break.

"However, it is difficult to fathom that this is still eleven days away.

“There is a lot to do including implementing the process for managing vaccination passports for our industry.”

Aucklanders wanting to get their hair trimmed must show their vaccine pass, which can be obtained through My Covid Record.