Wave of demand as customers book services

Dunedin dropped to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday. PHOTOS: JESSICA WILSON
Dunedin dropped to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday. PHOTOS: JESSICA WILSON
With the move to Covid-19 Alert Level 2 for Dunedin and the rest of the country  except Auckland, many local businesses are hitting the ground running and clearing backlogs of jobs. The Star reporters Brenda Harwood and Jessica Wilson spoke with some local businesses to find out how they are bouncing back.

Hairdressers, mechanics and panelbeaters are facing a wave of customer demand, as clients snap up bookings in the aftermath of the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 and 3 lockdown.

The new rules governing Alert Level 2, which include wearing masks, mandatory

QR code scanning and 50-person limits indoors, are adding to the pressure, but businesses are just keen to get on with it.

Clip Joint co-owner Loren Westhead was excited to open the hair salon again, but anxious to ensure everything ran smoothly.

In Alert Level 2, people had to be spaced 2m apart and both clients and staff had to wear masks, she said.

Staff were unable to serve clients a drink and no reading material would be available.

The salon was able to sell products during Alert Level 3 as long as it was contactless.

She appreciated the support of the salon’s clientele, Ms Westhead said.

‘‘We’re looking pretty busy for the next few weeks.’’

Pit Stop Dunedin owner Daniel Cresswell said the moment Dunedin moved to Alert Level 3, the phone started ringing for vehicle servicing and had not stopped.

‘‘We are now running five or six business days ahead in our bookings. We are every bit as busy as we were pre-lockdown - actually slightly busier.’’

New protocols, particularly mandatory QR code scanning, were proving a bit awkward, and staff constantly had to remind people to scan the QR code.

‘‘It’s a bit frustrating, but it’s a requirement under the rules now, so we have to ask people to scan.’’

The supply chain was operating reasonably well, although some parts were taking longer to arrive.

‘‘We are also noticing the odd mistake happening, with the wrong parts arriving, so obviously everyone is under pressure.’’

Panel beaters Harrows Collision Repairs had been ‘‘super busy’’ leading into lockdown, with a backlog of jobs that was continuing to grow, co-manager Steven de Graaf said.

‘‘Our bookings extend out five or six weeks, and we are expecting demand to ramp up under Alert Level 2.’’

There would be a lot more cars on the road, which would lead to more collisions and repairs.

Although supply of parts was a bit ‘‘up in the air’’, and had been all year, Harrows was well organised for Alert Level 2 requirements, he said.

As an essential food supply business during Alert Levels 4 and 3, Taste Nature organic whole foods store remained open throughout the lockdown, owner Clinton Chambers said.

‘‘We have been well supported by the local community, which we are grateful for.’’

Staff were kept busy filling customers’ orders for contactless collection in Alert Level 4, while shoppers were allowed back inside under Alert Level 3.

‘‘We were well stocked, as we received extra supplies from growers who normally service cafes and restaurants,’’ he said.

‘‘Our biggest sales, apart from online orders, were our produce boxes and new meal boxes, which was good to see.’’

The on-site cafe was able to open under Alert Level 2, with suitable distancing and other protocols in place.

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