14th September 2021 By Staff Reporter | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
The extension of Auckland’s level 4 lockdown for at least a week increases the likelihood of more hospitality operators going out of business, says Hospitality New Zealand.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that the city would remain at level 4 for another week with a move in principle to level 3 to take place at midnight Tuesday 21 September.
“We know lockdown needed to be extended as long as there are mystery cases in the community – we get that and we support it,” said Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White.
“But every single day hospitality and accommodation businesses are unable to trade brings more pain and more likelihood of liquidations.
“Cafes, bars, restaurants and other venues will remain off limits, with food outlets allowed just contactless pickup or delivery, and for many it’s not worth opening. Accommodation businesses will be able to open but no one will be allowed to travel so that’s not going to make much difference.”
White said it was imperative the government provided targeted support for the sector. The government has extended its resurgence support payment and wage subsidy in line with the level 4 extension.
“The government is not offering anything equal to the deep financial crisis the hospitality industry is in.”
Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said the financial drain of lockdown was taking a toll.
“Auckland businesses will have to keep their businesses closed for yet another week and the financial drain is taking its toll on business owners and their employees” she said.
“With no assurance of a wage subsidy extension into level 2 for Auckland based businesses and severely restricted trading even when we do arrive there, our businesses are having to make extremely difficult decisions to hang on for another week.evels
Monday.“What continues to be pushed under the carpet is the crippling losses that so many industries unable to operate at levels 4 and 3 are facing.”
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said businesses were “devastated” by the extension.
“We’re bleeding tens of millions of dollars each week but there are social and personal impacts negatively impacting people’s wellbeing, confidence, and willingness to comply with this health first approach,” he said.
“There has to be a better balance to get us out of the sick bay and back to health – physically, socially, and economically – rather than perpetuating this vicious circle of stamp it out, wait for the inevitable next breach at the border and lock us down. We need a different response to live with Covid as safely as possible without killing our livelihoods and lifestyle.”
The rest of New Zealand would remain at level 2 until at least midnight Tuesday 21 September with the government expected to review alert levels next Monday.
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