One Warkworth Business Association will survey businesses on their needs as New Zealand emerges from alert level 4 lockdown.
The survey will help One Warkworth tailor a support package, which will include a dedicated Covid-19 page on the association’s website, featuring resources to help businesses cope with the economic fallout.
One Warkworth manager Murray Chapman says so far, he has not heard of any local businesses claiming they can’t last much longer. Nevertheless, many are hurting due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19.
“I think it would be foolish to think there won’t be casualties from this. There will be some businesses in town that just won’t be able to survive,” he says.
On a more positive note, Mr Chapman says the lockdown has forced businesses to look hard at their operating model, and it’s likely we will see a lot more local businesses trading online.
“This is a really a good time for businesses to be doing brainstorming meetings on Zoom with their staff and asking, ‘What do we do when we get out of this?’” he says.
Mr Chapman says another positive sign is that landlords of commercial properties have shown understanding towards tenants who may be struggling.
“That’s just as well because if a landlord plays hardball in this situation then in the long term, they could be without a tenant for quite a long time,” he says.
Mr Chapman says customers can play their part by supporting local businesses.
He says once the lockdown ends, it will be hard for people to resist the temptation to head off to major shopping centres like Albany.
“But that just slows our recovery in Warkworth. Spare a thought for the local businesses that employ our young people and sponsor local events.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced earlier this week that New Zealand would move out of alert level 4 lockdown at 11.59pm on Monday, April 27. The country will then remain at level 3 for at least two weeks before the situation is reviewed.
Ms Ardern acknowledged that waiting until next week to change alert levels cost the country two more business days.
“But it gives us much greater longer-term health and economic returns down the track. It means we are less likely to go backwards,” she said.
This week businesses are allowed to get ready to open. Employers can re-enter premises to receive stock if necessary, but they must stick to social distancing rules and their bubbles.