Aucklanders crowd malls as they head out in force after level 3

Author
Nikki Preston, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 7 Mar 2021, 4:21PM
People in Ponsonby celebrate their newfound freedom in alert level two after level three restictions were lifted this morning. Photo / Alex Burton
People in Ponsonby celebrate their newfound freedom in alert level two after level three restictions were lifted this morning. Photo / Alex Burton

Aucklanders crowd malls as they head out in force after level 3

Author
Nikki Preston, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 7 Mar 2021, 4:21PM

Aucklanders are flocking to the malls and restaurants after a week of being stuck at home with reports of massive crowds at malls and one KFC on the North Shore had no chicken.

As the wet weather is keeping people off the beaches and outside, shoppers at some Auckland malls including Glenfield Mall are reporting huge queues.

"I have just arrived, it is a madhouse. Queues everywhere. Going home," one person posted on a local North Shore Facebook page after attempting to go to Glenfield Mall.

“It's like Christmas season out there!! It's blimmen crazy," said another.

Kiwi Property spokesman Campbell Hodgetts said feedback from its two Auckland shopping centres - Lynn Mall and Sylvia Park - were they were busier than a usual Sunday.

Hodgetts said it was consistently busy across all areas of the malls, but level 2 restrictions meant they were still managing the number of people in the food court and centres.

Aucklanders hit the beach this morning as the city moves to alert level 2. Photo / Alex BurtonAucklanders hit the beach this morning as the city moves to alert level 2. Photo / Alex Burton

People were also opting for takeaways due to the limited seating allowed in food courts.

"It sounds like there's a pretty constant stream of people coming and going and adjusting to level 2 again."

One KFC customer said there was no chicken at KFC Glenfield this morning due to a delivery being late, so he had to drive to Birkdale.

However, a KFC spokesperson said the fresh chicken did arrive today following a minor delay. There were no delays with deliveries at any other stores.

Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White said their hotel and motel members in Auckland had zero occupancy last week and there tended to be "a lag effect" after the city moved alert levels.

She said people still seemed to be hesitant about booking accommodation in the city yet as they waited to see what happened, but hoped they would start trickling in from Monday.

And while there were Aucklanders who would want to eat out at bars, restaurants and cafes, White said operators were "hamstrung" and still limited by the rules which meant they had to adhere to enforce social distancing and couldn't make the most of the busy weekend trade or the America's Cup.

White said the industry felt the Government was not balancing the economic impact and needed to move alert levels earlier given there were no new community Covid-19 cases.

"The industry started becoming very frustrated."

It was too early for Paymark to know just how much was being spent at the tills today - but figures released after the last move from level 3 to 2 showed there was an increase in spending immediately after alert levels dropped but they were nowhere near enough to make up for the 21 per cent drop in spending during the three days Auckland was in lockdown.

Under alert level 2 cafes, restaurants and bars can open and have customers on their premises but they must be seated, be separated at least 1 metre apart from other groups and only be served by one person where practical.

Shoppers must also maintain the appropriate physical distancing measure of 2m when shopping in-store, which means stores including supermarkets have to limit the number of customers allowed in-store.