Most hospitality businesses in Auckland will not be financially viable after another week in lockdown –

Targeted extra survival payments are needed for businesses worst hit by lockdown or many will not survive, the Government has been told.
Hospitality and tourism businesses should be among those receiving the extra support, say the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, and the Restaurant Association.
“Our most recent feedback (a week ago) from members shows that while they largely support the level 4 lockdown, 75 per cent of those businesses would not be financially viable after two weeks at this level,” association chief executive Marisa Bidois said.
The Government has announced Auckland will stay in lockdown for another two weeks, while everyone South of Auckland will move to level 3 at 11.59pm on Tuesday, and stay there for a week.
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Bidois said restaurants, bars, cafes and other hospitality businesses should be fairly compensated for their sacrifice.
“The Auckland hospitality industry in particular is paying a heavy price for the elimination strategy,” she said.
“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.
“While we’re pleased to see Northland coming down to level 3 on Thursday, there should be more financial recognition for our industry, particularly those establishments in Auckland.
“Our industry knows what it needs to do to help us to eliminate Covid once again, but we feel that there should be specific compensation offered to those who stand to lose the most.”
Bidois said said one Auckland restaurateur she spoke to on Monday had just finished clawing their way out of the debt they had to take on to survive the lockdown last year.
Leeann Watson, chief executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, made the plea for targeted support to extend to businesses outside of Auckland, which would continue to be hard-hit even after the rest of the country moves onto alert level 3.
“It is positive to get certainty now of our move to alert level 3 for Wednesday, and we also welcome the signal by the Government and the advance warning for the next level change (the Cabinet will decide on September 6), which will be helpful for businesses to plan ahead,” she said.
“However, we do need to acknowledge that at alert level 3 and even at alert level 2, there will be businesses that are still unable to operate, or if they are, then it may be at a reduced capacity that may not be cost-effective,” she said.
“It will be crucial that there is ongoing support for those sectors, in particular, sectors such as hospitality, tourism and major events that rely on face-to-face customer interactions.”
The Resurgence Support Payment, and the Wage Subsidy Scheme, were positive, with the second branch of the wage subsidy from September 3, but salary and wages were only one of the financial overheads experienced by businesses, Watson said.
They also had to cover rent, insurance, and other overheads, she said.
Many were weaker than they had been when the first covid lockdown was announced in March last year.
She also called on people to support their local businesses as soon as they could get out to do so.
But, while it was good to see locals supporting locals, until the borders re-opened, and a way was found to keep businesses open and operating safely that did not involve the yo-yoing of alert levels, local support would not be enough for some businesses in Canterbury and elsewhere, Watson said.
“In the early 2020 lockdown, the loss of income from Auckland travellers was costing the Canterbury region $1 million a day according to Government data, including $850,000 in Ōtautahi Christchurch,” she said.
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