JASON DORDAY / Stuff
The government announced on Friday that Auckland will remain at Alert Level 2.5 until September 16.
Trade associations are calling for targeted government financial support for retail and hospitality, as current alert levels are extended.
The government announced on Friday that it would keep New Zealand at Alert Level 2 and Auckland at Alert Level 2.5 until at least September 14.
Marisa Bidois of the Restaurant Association said a level 2.5 expansion was expected, but still disappointing as companies struggled financially as their bills piled up and wage subsidies ran out.
Bidois said trade below current alert levels across the country was significantly lower for cafes and restaurants than during level 1.
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Bidois called on the government to extend the wage subsidy, offer GST relief and support his version of the UK’s “Eat Out to Help Out” initiative.
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said buyer confidence plummeted across the country following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the community in August.
Harford said trade for retailers also slowed at Level 2 and shoppers were not spending as much online as they were during the first lockdown.
âPeople don’t spend as much online as they do when they’re on the go. Although it is disappointing, I think it is important to bring the health situation under control so that New Zealanders feel more confident to move, âsaid Harford.
He said businesses needed rent relief as many retailers were still in dispute over rent since the first foreclosure in March.
âWhile retailers can open at level 2, many are unable to cover their fixed costs like rent and salaries due to declining sales. “
Chris Monaghan, who operates the Cali Press cafÃ© in Auckland’s Commercial Bay shopping center, said the city center was “dead” at level 2.5.
âLevel 2.5 looks like no man’s land. Nobody knows whether to move forward or to hold on, âhe said.
Newmarket Trade Association chief executive Mark Knoff-Thomas said trade in the Auckland Mall has not rebounded as it did after the first lockdown ended.
âWe’re generally not thrilled with the expansion, but it’s certainly a better option than going back to Alert Level 3 – the idea is untenable,â Knoff-Thomas said.
âThe Newmarket companies I spoke with just want to get into trading – what they’re looking for is trust and certainty. Any additional government support will always be welcome. “