Auckland Council have acknowledged the challenges facing Auckland’s hospitality sector in 2020 and have announced some measures to support them while the region remains in a restricted environment.
The measures announced by the Council include relaxing the requirements for use of outdoor space as well as some support for licence extensions. We outline the Council’s announcement below.
Allowing more space for physical distancing
One practical way businesses can adapt at Alert Level 2 is by using the space immediately outside their shopfront. This may help with physical distancing, a click and collect set-up, or as an added way to promote products.
While Auckland’s bylaws already allow businesses to use the 600mm of space directly in front of their shop for displays, Auckland Council will be taking a relaxed approach to this measurement while we remain in Alert Level 2. However, they ask that businesses take a sensible approach so that areas around their premises remain safe for both customers and the general public.
Outdoor dining space
Physical distancing can be a real challenge for dine-in hospitality businesses, particularly those in small premises. To help businesses make use of outdoor space, if they aren’t already doing so, the council will fast-track new food-only outdoor dining license applications during Alert Level 2 and issue them within 24 hours of receipt. Applications can be made online here.
Auckland Council has advised they are unable to fast-track new on-premise alcohol licenses or extend existing on-premise licenses however because of the input required from Police, Ministry of Health and District Licencing Boards.
They will also take a relaxed approach to bars, cafes and restaurants using more space than normal to allow for increased distancing between tables during Alert Level 2.
It’s important to highlight that the Police and District Licensing Boards, through council’s alcohol inspectors, will continue to enforce the conditions of alcohol licenses at Alert Level 2, so the Council encourages businesses to check the details of their licence before extending the footprint of their outdoor dining space.
Extending outdoor dining licences
In recognition of the trading restrictions at Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2, the council will extend the expiry date for existing and new food-only licences for the period of time Auckland is at these alert levels. When Auckland returns to Alert Level 1, members are encouraged to get in touch with the Council’s Street Trading team so they can process this extension for them.
Keeping spaces safe for pedestrians
The council have asked businesses to:
- Review the ‘Doing business at Alert Level 2’ guidelines (and the Restaurant Association’s Guidelines for Operating at Level 2)
- Ensure spaces around their premises are kept clear of any hazards that may cause trips or other harm to their customers or members of the public
- Make regular checks to ensure that all pedestrians, including those using mobility devices or prams can easily move through the area and are not impeded by furniture or shop displays
- Be aware of any obstructions or groupings that may prevent an emergency response.
If members have any questions, the Council is encouraging them to contact their Street Trading team, via the Auckland Council contact centre on 09 301 0101. Members are also welcome to call our RA Helpline on 0800 737 827.