The “dummy run” of new COVID-19 Level 2 restrictions for bars to be held at a nightclub in Auckland’s Viaduct looks set to go ahead and provide all bars, including the LGBT+ establishments, a guide to how they can operate under the rules that come into force on May 21.
The operator of HeadQuarters popup bar and restaurant Leo Molloy plans to conduct the test at his bar on Friday night with a party of 100 people, the amount allowed under Level 2.
Speaking with NewstalkZB, the colourful operator explained he will have a collection of his “best friends” at the event with some of Auckland’s more notable people including, Auckland MP Nikki Kaye, former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry and Destiny Church’s Brian and Hannah Tamaki, National’s deputy leader Paula Bennett, Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere, band members from True Bliss and former MP Hone Harawira.
Guests will be required to remain seated at tables of 10 or less and will not be able to mingle or get within the one-metre social distance. This includes no hugging or kissing and definitely no combining bubbles.
When asked by Newstalk ZB host Heather Du Plessis-Allan about whether his guests will stay within the rules on the night, Molloy said his venue has a better clientele than some other places in Auckland.
“We are not a subterranean gay bar on K road… where people swap DNA in the middle of the night,” Molloy said.
Speaking with the NZ herald Molly said, “It’s better to invite people I know. With a small number, we can contain problems if they happen. We don’t want a crowd of the bogans with their Lion Reds to turn up, riot, and have the place shut down.”
Molloy has hired a DJ for the “soft launch” and said he and his bouncers will be patrolling the dance floor to make sure guests don’t get too “cosy” and stick to the self-distancing rule. He has also banned public displays of affection.
“Pashing is for young people with throbbing hormones who are determined to share their DNA. I’d like to think the average age on the guest list is 45+ and most of us can moderate our behaviour and wait ’til we get home.”
Auckland Central Area Commander Inspector of Police Gary Davey and the liquor licensing agency will ensure the party can go ahead and Police will visit the venue throughout the night to make sure guests are behaving.
All guests at the function will be temperature checked at the door and required to supply their names, addresses and phone numbers.
We will wait and see if the event is successful and provide other venues a much-needed boost out of the lockdown.