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Takeaways back on menu

Aman Singh missing his Domino’s Pizza crew and ready to restart home deliveries today. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Mayor: ‘comfort and relief’ wanted
Hanging out for a Big Mac, a Whopper, a Zinger, or just a slice of pizza? As of today you’re in business, or at least the providers of those treats are.

Staff Reporters

From this morning multinational hamburger chains McDonalds and Burger King opened their drive thru service and world-famous fried chicken is back in the deep fat fryer.

McDonalds Masterton opened the drive-thru at 5am. Owner Andre du Preez was not precisely sure how the store will manage demand but says he is “solution focused”.

Du Preez won’t have staff walking car to car to take orders on a device and there will be no “person to person contact”.

Co-owner of McDonalds Masterton Andre du Preez.

Before the first Level 3 lockdown he took 54 seats out of the restaurant in case it would stay open to ensure social distancing.

After the announcement that New Zealand was going to Level 4 on March 23 and before the Lockdown was enforced three days later, people were queuing in vehicles from the microphone out on  to Chapel Street.

Du Preez employs 78 people.

Burger King went into receivership during Level 4 [on April 14].

The company employs 2600 staff nationwide, 22 at the Masterton outlet. The receivers [KordaMentha] and Antares management team are, “Now in a position to reopen and focus on rebuilding the Burger King business”, spokeswoman Andrea Spearman said.

“We believe this is in the best interests of our customers, our employees and all creditors and we remain confident in the long-term prospects of the Burger King business in New Zealand and the strength of the Burger King brand,” she said.

Under Level 3 it will have contactless transactions through drive-thru, pre-ordered pick-up from the BK App and home delivery [Uber Eats].

KFC Masterton was first to be back in business opening from midnight.

Pizza lovers will also be able to dial a pizza once again.

Manager of Domino’s Pizza Masterton, Aman Singh is firing up the ovens today at 9.30am.

He said the team had missed each other.
“Personally, I can’t wait to get back into the store to make myself a pepperoni pizza and I know that many of our customers will be looking forward to enjoying one too,” Singh said. “It’s definitely the most popular pizza in our store.”

Domino’s will do ‘zero contact’ deliveries next week and then a week later would go to in-store orders with social distancing measures in place.

“We do ask that our customers help us maintain physical distancing by remaining inside while our driver delivers their order.

The driver will contact you so that you know when your delivery has arrived and you can collect it.”

Before lockdown Domino’s had a large increase in deliveries and it expects to have this again.

Hell Pizza opened at 11am today after being closed for five weeks. Manager William Keedwell is relieved.

“I have bills to pay so am grateful to open but it will be contactless,” Keedwell said.

“Orders will be paid for online, meaning those that come to the store will have paid already and will need to wait in a queue with social distancing markings like for supermarkets.”

He said his landlord the Masterton Trust Lands Trust has “really helped out” and said it is the ongoing bills that are the main concern.

He said productivity will be reduced because he has to space his staff out to keep them safe but at least revenue will start coming in.

“If you want a pizza that is just thrown together, don’t come to Hell,” Keedwell said.

– Karen Coltman

Contactless trading

As Wairarapa businesses owners wrap their heads around what Level 3 restrictions could mean for them, some have been “lucky” enough to keep the income rolling in through deliveries.

While it hasn’t been business as usual, there has been business.

Butchers in particular, who were initially not classed as an essential service, consider themselves lucky to be trading.

Carterton-based Sebastian Nebel, from Bavaria NZ, said they had been able to keep running since the lockdown as their butchery was set up at home

He said it had been a quiet time with the closure of restaurants and markets, but they were realising more orders online and to delivery partners like Moore Wilsons.

“We’ve been pushing online more,” he said. “It’s become a lot stronger.”

Nebel said he felt lucky as he had heard “horror stories” from other butcheries around the country.

“It’s hit a lot of people worse. We are not in the red yet.”

The Greytown Butchery’s owner Gavin Green said he was frustrated by the initial closure.

But since reopening, he said there had been a lot of demand online.

“It’s amazing all the people who have rung and told us how happy they are we are still going. People really appreciate their local butchers.”

Ali Kilmister, owner of Homegrown Butcher, Deli and Pantry store in Kuripuni, said while they had lost half their business with restaurant closures, online orders had grown exponentially.

She said they were “lucky” and had been prepared for the lockdown, installing hand sanitisers and establishing systems two weeks before it was announced

Products available included a range of meat and pantry items, as well as other kitchen essentials like milk, coffee, and olive oil.

Demand for deliveries from Eketahuna Country Meats had also skyrocketed since the lockdown started, with the delivery crew described as “shattered” in a post on Facebook.

However, owners Pip and Steve Olds also said they were very grateful for the support.

Other Wairarapa businesses trading online during Level 4 included Masterton’s Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese, The Drunken Nanny in Martinborough, C’est Cheese in Featherston, Pinehaven Orchard in Greytown, Ten O’Clock Cookie Company, Clareville Bakery, and Belle Fresca in Masterton.

– Gianina Schwanecke

Funerals and weddings

Robert Milne, owner/operator of Wairarapa Funeral Services said at Level 3 there will still be no receptions or catering at funerals.

In the past five weeks “people have chosen in many cases to have a quick cremation or burial and then have a memorial service at a later stage”, he said.

Milne also said the option to embalm and keep a body for a service after lockdown was made available “but nobody that I am aware of has taken that up in Wairarapa”.

Other effects of the lockdown for Milne have included the postponement of installing headstones in the cemetery.

“Fortunately, it has been a quiet time for deaths in Wairarapa,” he said.

Rangitane kaumatua, Mike Kawana, said he and representatives from Ngati Kahungunu have gathered under the group Ko Wairarapa Tenei in order to work closely with whanau to carry out funeral service guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Health during Alert Level 4.

He said the iwis had developed their guidelines via Zoom meetings with the District Health Board and the Emergency Operations Centre.

A small number of families have needed to access funeral services during Level 4, he said, with immediate burial, and cremation with the service to come later being the options accessed.

During Level 3 families will be allowed to gather in groups of 10 for a funeral service.

Kawana said some did not realise that traditionally Maori had cremations.

“They were more traditional cremations where a body was in fact interred by fire – I suppose, that’s one way of putting it.”

He said it was a way of sending off a higher-ranking person in Maori culture.

In the current climate a rahui was in place “asking people to refrain from some of the practices we have – not just tangi – it applies to hongi, harirū [handshake], wananga [education] – all those types of tikanga we have under our culture”.

Marriage celebrant Holly Hulena said she has had three weddings postponed, one in Carterton, one in Masterton and one in Eketahuna.

She said she had heard from other celebrants and people at the Celebrants Association that many couples had picked a date that was significant to them during the lockdown and plan to postpone their ceremonies to the same time next year.

Weddings under Level 3 can also only be attended by up to 10 people. – Aleyna Martinez

‘Comfort and relief’ wanted

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said she hoped the move to pandemic Alert Level 3 today would “provide some comfort and relief” to Wairarapa folk.

After Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the national alert level would be reduced, Patterson said the lockdown had been “really challenging for many people”.

The key changes allowed forestry, manufacturing, construction, and contactless retail businesses, to resume working after a hiatus of more than a month at Alert Level 4.

Speaking on behalf of Wairarapa’s three mayors – also including Carterton’s Greg Lang and Alex Beijen of South Wairarapa – Patterson said she was “very proud of how our region has responded to the lockdown”.

”We hope the change to Level 3 will provide some comfort and relief for the many people in Wairarapa who have been struggling, whether it’s emotionally or financially.

”It’s pleasing that our forestry, manufacturing, construction and contactless retail businesses will be able to resume business as this benefits our region’s economy.”

She reiterated the message that “now is not the time to get complacent”.

”We need everyone to stay at home in their bubbles and keep physical distancing with others.”

Patterson said the three district councils, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Emergency Operations Centre are working on what the change in alert levels means for council services.

Wairarapa’s eighth and most recent confirmed or probable covid-19 case was reported on April 3. All eight people have now recovered.

– Marcus Anselm, Local Democracy Reporter

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