Many jobs will be lost and local businesses could close after more than six weeks of near zero income during yet another lockdown.
That’s the stark message from Hospitality NZ and Business Whangaparaoa member Troy Clarry, who is spearheading a campaign to get the sector special targeted support from the Government until Level 1.
He says current subsidies and payments, while welcome, are not fit for purpose for the sector, whose outgoings often stay unchanged once income has dried up.
“The industry is on its knees. The revenue lost during lockdowns will start turning into lost businesses and jobs from this week,” he says.
“Up to now, the industry has survived pretty well, but it’s got to the point with this lockdown that there are a lot more businesses in a lot more trouble.”
Clarry, who owns Little Manly’s Whangaparaoa Lodge, says he is frustrated that the Government has not recognised the unique problems faced by the hospitality sector.
“The hit we take from lockdowns is heavier and hurts more than almost any other business,” he says. “You can see this already in Orewa and will certainly notice the closure of businesses whenever we come out of these lockdowns.”
Together with backing from Destination Orewa, Silverdale Business and Business Whangaparaoa, Clarry and Hospitality NZ are advocating for targeted support for the next two to three months, and are emailing government ministers and local MPs.
“Level 2 is not much and Level 3 is nothing for many of our businesses,” he says. “Hospitality venues have had as little as zero income for up to three and half months since March last year. They will not get back to the old Level 2, when they can possibly break even, for many weeks yet.”
Destination Orewa manager Hellen Wilkins agrees that this lockdown has hit businesses harder.
“It’s been winter, so things are at a very low ebb to start with,” she says. “Last year, they had all their summer revenue behind them. Now, they might not have the financial cushion they had before.
“We’re just hoping that in Level 3 and into Level 2, all of a sudden the community comes out of hibernation and starts supporting all these businesses.”
All three local business associations are putting together directories of businesses that are up and running in Level 3 and will be publicising them on their websites and social media.
Former restaurant worker Blair Duncan has set up a national fundraising initiative to help hospitality workers facing hardship. For more info, or to donate, visit https://helpforhospo.co.nz