Auckland businesses are asking Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to shift down into the third phase of alert level 3 as they struggle nearly three months into lockdown.
Heart of the City and the Newmarket, Parnell, Ponsonby and Takapuna business associations are asking for the region to get moving in an open letter. Its asking the Government to urgently support local economies and save businesses, especially as the region is on the cusp of being 90 per cent vaccinated.
Government handouts are a lifeline, but all we really want to do is trade, the letter said, noting Auckland was entering its 11th week, or 77 days, in lockdown following the outbreak of Delta in the community.
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Our businesses are suffering more than ever. There have been numerous closures already. The prospect that many of our businesses will not be able to resume trade for at least a further month will have major implications on livelihoods, well-being and families.
Auckland has been in lockdown for 77 days.
While many businesses were able to carry on, the business associations retail, hospitality, arts, events, entertainment, tourism, and personal service sectors are disadvantaged.
The group was requesting an immediate change to alert level 3, step 3, under the existing alert system.
The framework and guidelines were already in place and business following the guidelines could trade safely, the associations said.
Newmarket business association chief executive Mark Knoff-Thomas said it was doble.
We can do it responsibly, safely and follow the guidelines sets out in the existing framework, rather than going a bit rogue. If you are out and about in Auckland, its getting pretty busy. As a community we are getting to the end of its tolerance, possibly.
People were beginning to break the rules and giving them a bit more freedom, while still giving them a framework to follow would be preferable, he said.
As Auckland shifted to alert level 3 business around the city amps up, with Ponsonby Rd full of people waiting outside cafes to get their contactless coffee.
ACT leader David Seymour said step 3 would mean the ability to operate would make little different to public health at this point but a world of distance to the livelihoods of so many small businesses.
After visiting Auckland this week Seymour said he observed businesses doing their best to operate under restrictions.
They are putting on a brave face behind the mask. Their revenues are often down 80 per cent, they are losing money every week. I heard that there are people borrowing from relatives, running up against their mortgages, and holding out paying suppliers to stay afloat, he said.
According to recent data, business closures in Auckland were up 13.8 per cent in September compared to last years monthly average, credit bureau Centrix said earlier this month.
Christchurchs were up 10 per cent, while Wellingtons were at 97 per cent of average.
Companies Office data compiled by Dot Loves Data showed 9524 business closures in August. In the previous two months, there had been almost 12,000 closures.
Restaurant Association of New Zealand chief executive Marisa Bidois says an estimate 1000 hospitality businesses had permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, as at September 2021.
By comparison, in the three months between February and April, only 5241 businesses closed.
Dot Loves Data government director Justin Lester previously said the jump was significant but would not reflect the effects of the latest lockdown yet.
A month ago, the Restaurant Association reported that an estimated 13,000 job losses due to 1000 hospitality business closures had taken place since the start of the pandemic.
Following the return to alert level 4 in August 2021 we expect the fallout to be significantly higher over the next three to six months, Bidois said.
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