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The Government should consider what is more expensive, lockdowns and pausing the transtasman bubble or escalating vaccinations, a Queenstown business owner says.
Rees Hotel chief executive Mark Rose said the majority of the weekend and yesterday was spent fielding cancellations from Australians.
Quarantine-free travel with Australia was put on hold for three days, starting Saturday, and the Government was set to review the situation today.
Like many in Queenstown, Mr Rose had been banking on the Australian school holidays being a much-needed cash injection and was up to 90% occupancy — but this fell to just above 30% after the Sydney and Northern Territory Covid-19 cases.
"If we look at the loss of productivity and therefore income through GST for the Government of a lockdown versus the slow rollout of our vaccinations, someone has to ask, why on earth are we not rushing these vaccinations out?
"If we were 60%-70% vaccinated, these would be small lumps in the road, they wouldn’t be causing these sorts of issues."
He said it was not a political attack, but a practical suggestion that the finance minister demand a faster rollout and spent every cent available on it.
Another issue for Mr Rose was that the 170-bed hotel had ramped up its staffing numbers for expected demand this week.
It is a similar issue for nearby Sherwood Hotel accommodation general manager Karen Henry.
She said it put it in a difficult position when it came to fulfilling promises to newly hired staff.
She said the recent visa extensions had seen people move from the North Island and agricultural jobs to Queenstown looking for winter work.
Fortunately, she said, the Sherwood benefited from strong domestic demand and she hoped the New Zealand school holidays would somewhat offset the losses.
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ruth Stokes said businesses wanted a clear vaccination plan for the resort, fearing it could be the epicentre of an outbreak.
"We are disproportionately exposed to international visitors and also given the number of domestic visitors we have here, an outbreak will quickly spread through the country."
She said after vaccinating the vulnerable, next should be the most sociable and Queenstowners in hotels, restaurants, taxis, were all exposed to many people.
She urged people to use the tracer app to sign in when they were out, suggesting only a minority still seemed do so.
Yesterday, the prime minister said the Government was considering making the tracer app compulsory in high-risk venues such as restaurants and bars.