Auckland proprietor 'excited' but 'apprehensive' as bars reopen around the country today

Delayed behind the likes of cafes and restaurants, bars are looking forward to reopening their doors for the first time since the lockdown, from today. 

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Mike Howie of Auckland establishment Freida Margolis says he’s excited, but nervous to get up and running at Alert Level 2. Source: 1 NEWS

Even with strict guidelines for social distancing and group numbers, for Auckland bar owner Mike Howie, the reopening couldn't have come soon enough. 

"I'm feeling very relieved. It’s been three months with zero income and relieved to see also our loyal following. We’re getting a lot of calls about when are we opening so we are excited," says Mr Howie. 

The added regulations have left the Freida Margolis owner nervous about what it will mean for how his bar can function. 

"We are apprehensive about what exactly the correct thing to do is with social spacing for groups and things but also monitoring people that come and go.” 

Bars, restaurants set to reopen under Alert Level 2, but with restrictions

Mr Howie says the usually "intimate" bar environment has been greatly affected, with table set ups and seating needing to be adjusted to stick with social distancing. 

He says that typically, the regular customers like sitting up at the bar to talk to staff but with limits on how close customers can be sitting, for the next couple of weeks that has had to change. 

"If they’re just patient with us as, you know, a bar has to be quite a monitored area. Where at a real bar you choose your environment but those days, for the next couple of weeks, are over," says Mike Howie.  

While the pandemic has been "quite a worrying time" for people and businesses alike, Mr Howie is adamant that the community will make it through as the country slowly returns to normality.