Steele Williams, owner of The Book Club in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) says he will not be reopening his establishment at Alert Level 2.
The Book Club is a combined night club and strip club that closed at Alert Level 4. But the new regulations, he says, will require him to hire more staff.
“We’d probably have to double our staff workload. Not just the workload but the number of staff,” Williams says.
Williams employs 11 dancers, and 10-15 bar and security staff. The wage subsidy has helped him to put food on his table at a time, when his income is zero. Funds that he had earmarked for renovations were used to keep the business afloat.
"I spent the last financial year saving up to make my bar better for everyone else. Soon as COVID hit and we had to close, that money that I had earmarked for upgrades, has now become the money that was carrying me through," Williams says.
The physical premises themselves also make social distancing impossible. A single stairwell to both sides of the club make things difficult. Looking after intoxicated people, while social distancing he says, add to the difficulty.
"Intoxicated people make it a bit hard to deal with. You know, it's probably a bit harder to deal with some intoxicated people than going back to school and looking after kids," he says.
The club operator believes that his business will not be the only one to suffer loss.
He believes that other hospitality businesses will close permanently.