Everest Cafe are now allowed to take contactless orders paid for over the phone. PHOTO/ARTHUR HAWKES
Businesses try to run as safe as they can
Businesses across Wairarapa have started up again under Alert Level 3, but not without some confusion.
At the popular Everest Cafe in Featherston, several people waited in cars, and in socially-distant bubbles on the pavement, for their contactless coffees and patisserie.
They were then handed through an opening in the window, which was closed swiftly thereafter, once the goods had been handed over.
While cafes and takeaways have found adjustment to the new rules quite straightforward, for other businesses, such as dog groomers and gardening services, navigating Alert Level 3 has been a more complex process.
A covid-19 business survey, conducted by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Business Central, showed 92 per cent of respondents intended to operate in some form at Alert Level 3, but just 17 per cent would be operating “as usual”.
The remaining 83 per cent of businesses would operate under capacity and were “overwhelmingly uncertain” about what the next three to six months would hold.
In their guidelines about business operations under the different alert levels, The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment [MBIE] said, “barbers, hairdressers, nail salons, waxing bars, and eyebrow grooming shops cannot open at Alert Levels 3 and 4”.
“This also includes businesses going to people’s homes to do these services.
“This restriction is because of the level of close, personal contact involved in these services, and the risk that would pose to public health.”
However, while hairdressers remain closed, some dog groomers have reopened, citing concerns over animal welfare.
MBIE’s previous guidelines for pet services state that, at Alert Level 2, “animal and pet care services, such as dog walking and pet grooming, can operate”.
The implication here was that under Alert Level 3, grooming was not allowed, but statements made in the government’s newly updated Health Act, state that operations aiding animal welfare were okay.
In a social media post, Dionne Pugh, owner of Masterton’s Pampered Paws Dog Grooming said, “I am concerned that for some of my furry customers it is now a welfare issue, especially regarding eyes and the problems they can get if the hair isn’t cleared”.
“I am trying to provide the best and safest service to my existing customers.
“I will not be accepting any new clients during Level 3.”
Initially, the groomers had said they would stay closed until Alert Level 2.
Pugh also cited the Health Act and its highlighting of animal welfare.
This has been interpreted to mean that essential grooming, under hygienic, socially distant conditions, is allowed, although there had initially been some uncertainty about whether or not this was allowed.
Gardening and lawn services have also been allowed to resume under Alert Level 3.
Maurice Salter works in South Wairarapa.
He said that he could continue his work of servicing lawns and gardens, provided this was done in a socially distant manner – although it looks a little different to how he was working before the lockdown.
“I actually enjoyed the break,” Salter said.
The Featherston resident said he had been making a note of his movements, due to the potential need for contact tracing.
“I’m making a note of wherever I go.
“I might do a lawn at one place, then go to the supermarket for something, and do something somewhere else, so I make a note of all these things.”