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‘Party like it’s 2019’

GREAT NEWS: With the move back to orange, local publicans are keen for patrons to enjoy live music and events once more. File picture by Dave Thomas

Get your dancing shoes on and ring for a taxi — a sense of normality has returned.

From 11.59pm last night, New Zealand moved to the orange light of the Covid-19 Protection Framework.

Two of Tairāwhiti’s top publicans are pumped by the move.

Under orange light there are no indoor capacity limits and the seated-and-separated rule for hospitality venues is gone, so bars, cafes and restaurants are able to fill up again.

“It’s good to be back in the warm light of orange,” says Smash Palace’s Darryl Monteith.

“It gives us some certainty at last that shows can go ahead. There will still be some lag time while touring acts get reorganised though.”

Sally Shanks from The Dome was equally upbeat, although she said it might take a while to get back into the groove.

“I have never been so busy in my life. I’m racing.”

She said the move was fabulous except for the fact that over half her staff are leaving.

Six out of her nine staff are from overseas and have not been home in years to see their families because of New Zealand’s strict borders.

“We’re going to manage but it’s just another thing. But we’re going to make it work and it’s going to be great.”

The next two big events coming up at The Dome are the Blues Club and the Elton John Tribute Band in May.

After that Shanks says they will be “kicking back into hosting lots of gigs come June”.

At Smash Palace there is already a slew of gigs coming up.

Taking the stage are Jordan Luck Band, Pull Down The Sun and Albi & the Wolves, plus local Metallica tribute Harbinger.

“For all those people who have put off celebrating significant milestones we’re ready to help you celebrate in style with live music and dancing. We can party like it’s 2019.”