A Clutha restaurateur is grateful to be back at work after more than a month away from his “loyal customers”.
Balclutha’s Raj Indian Restaurant owner›operator Hem Raj Chandel said “a little over four weeks and I can’t talk with the customers and I can’t see all my friends”.
“Now I can catch up with them and chat.
‘‘We must keep the distance, but it is still good.”
And it seems the eagerly awaiting customers agree.
Balclutha resident Queenie Hon was one of the first in line to pick up a chicken korma and tikka masala last Thursday.
“It feels pretty awesome to have some good old Raj,” she said.
Following Government guidelines, several precautions were in place to contain any possible spread of Covid-19.
A table was placed outside the main entrance, with a sheet of glass blocking the top half of the doorway.
Orders were passed under the glass and placed on to the table for customers “so people can be outside and come to take it away.
‘‘We put the hand sanitiser outside as well,” Mr Chandel said.
He said the eftpos machine was regularly sanitised as well.
Customers were behaving according to the Alert Level 3 rules, and the restaurant staff were also doing their best to uphold them.
Another business manager grateful for a return to normality was Ewan Allan Honda Balclutha manager Gavin Sutton.
His company was able to work to a limited degree under lockdown, providing mechanical assistance to the essential farming service.
“Basically, we had one mechanic on during Level 4, just for emergency breakdowns, that kind of thing,” Mr Sutton said.
“It was quite good to just keep things ticking over, and we were very lucky to be able to do that.
“A lot of businesses had no choice.”
The Government wage subsidy had provided much-needed support to the staff stuck at home, but more had returned to work now.
“We still don’t have everybody back, but we’re lucky because we have the space to have our work benches 2m apart.”
Mr Sutton said customers and clients had been patient with the precautions in place at the facility.
“We still have our doors closed like a lot of places. People understand they can’t just waltz on in the front door.”