Businesses disappointed but not surprised

The extension to the lockdown is ‘‘disappointing but not surprising’’, businesses say.

Yesterday’s announcement that Alert Level 4 restrictions would remain in place until at least Tuesday means non-essential businesses might not be able to open until Wednesday next week.

The extension meant the wage subsidy scheme was now open to businesses that had suffered a 40% drop in revenue because of the lockdown.

The subsidy would be for a two-week payment at a rate of $600 a week for full-time employees and $359 for part-timers.

If the lockdown went for more than two weeks, businesses would need to apply again.

Mark Scully.
Mark Scully.
Hospitality Association of New Zealand's Otago president Mark Scully said the extension complicated the situation for restaurants and cafes.

When the country went into lockdown on Tuesday night, many businesses had to throw out food that would not last until Friday; however, now businesses would have to dispose of more food, Mr Scully said.

‘‘It is tough for everyone and the extension is disappointing but not surprising,’’ he said.

In an ideal world, if there were no cases of Covid-19 in the South Island, it would be good to see a shift to Alert Level 2, Mr Scully said.

Following the announcement, the South Island chambers of commerce hosted a joint video call with Finance Minister Grant Robertson where he addressed business leaders’ questions about the support packages available and the need for the Alert Level 4 restrictions.

‘‘It is a short-time pain for a long-term gain,’’ he told the call.

New Zealand was the last country in the OECD to have a case of the Delta variant, and it was critical it was stamped out quickly before New Zealand’s situation turned into something similar to New South Wales’.

Businesses had to seek employees’ consent before applying for the subsidy because of the need to share their personal information in the application process, Mr Robertson said.

He also reminded businesses to do the right thing when applying for the subsidy and take it only if they needed it.

‘‘Every now and again we see people who knowingly don’t need it and you can expect there will be investigations there,’’ Mr Robertson said.

Business South’s chief executive Mike Collins said for some sectors such as manufacturing, working from home was not an option, so it was critical the Government continued to provide financial support for the business community.

Some sectors were a still well down on trade after the last lockdown and this latest one would continue to have a significant impact, Mr Collins said.

The lockdown also reinforced the importance of businesses having a continuity plan in place and the use of contact tracing in place, he said.

riley.kennedy@odt.co.nz

Comments

So once again the petrol company's and supermarkets are the ones to profit out of this while the small businesses go to the wall...

you didn't read the article in full did you? Your comment bears no connection to what is reported.
If you had read it you would have read of the support being given to non-essential businesses. Even Business South Chief Executive, Mr Collins, said nothing about anyone going to the wall.

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