Opening under Level 2 won't bring an income - Lu Lu's Bar and Eatery

By Jessica Tyson

Owners of Lu Lu's Bar and Eatery in Ōtautahi, Christchurch say opening under Level 2 restrictions doesn’t mean they’ll be able to make an income.

Lu Lu's Bar and Eatery, owned by Keith Heather and Louise Waho offers 'Māori-infused' kai located in the heart of the CBD.

They say opening under Level 2 adds additional costs to the business related to the new restrictions. 

“If you’re looking at money coming in versus money coming out, any opening where we are now is a cost, it’s not an income. We’re only trying to show that we’re being resilient and we can do it, says Keith.

“It’s not a money-making exercise by any means at all. It’s almost a moral, trying to bring something back so at least it feels like it's back to normal.”

Level 2 restrictions for cafes and restaurants

Cafes and restaurants can only open in Level 2 if they abide by the three s's; seated, separated, and single single-server.

Seated means cafes and restaurants will only be able to serve as many as can be safely seated.

Separated means there must be a social distance between tables of 2m, and every venue must use single servers, meaning tables will only be served by one wait staff member. It will be table service only.

Louise and Keith say to meet the requirements, they are going to have to cut down the capacity.

“We have quite a narrow bar. The capacity is 128 comfortable but this is going to cut down to half of that. It’s going to be smaller. It’s going to be based according to the rules,” says Louise.

They are also going to need to have more staff working to ensure customers are happy and keeping safe, which will add additional costs.

“We’ll be welcoming people with a big smile and with aroha, and the sanitizer on the side at the door so before we event seat them,” says Louise.   

Keith says they have received great support from their landlord and property manager but for other businesses in Christchurch, “It would have been better if they went from Level 4 to Level 1,” says Keith.

Despite the additional costs involved in re-opening under Alert Level 2, Louise and Keith say it's worth re-opening to be able to support their kaimahi.

“We’re a family, we’re a whānau and we treat our staff the same way. So we feel their pain and it’s hard. We’re trying to keep our heads above water. We’re trying to give them something to go back to. That’s the biggest the hardest thing trying to give 15 staff that we had to come and at least have some security.”

Louise and Keith say they have been through three big events, such as the Christchurch earthquakes and terrorist attacks, in the last three years and every time it’s been a recovery.

“I think it’s fair to say could potentially break us, completely shut us down, says Louise.

“It’s been a roller coaster. For us, we thrive on whanaungatanga. We thrive in making this place as a place to reconnect as whānau to make new relationships.”

Louise and Keith hope that with community support businesses in the region when they reopen.

The restaurant at Lu Lu's Bar and Eatery will be able to reopen on Thursday this week, but the bar won’t be able to open until Thursday 21 May.