Havelock North businesses are feeling the pinch of the gastro outbreak with cafes and restuarants unable to function without the use of water.

A number of Havelock North cafe and restaurant owners yesterday gathered with Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule at a cafe to discuss possible solutions.

Yule told the Hawke's Bay Today that a major advertising campaign would be launched to re-attract customers back to the Havelock North area - once the water had been cleared.

Black Barn Vineyard's Francis de Jager on the gastro outbreak:

"It's a brand issue because think they can't come and stay here," he said.

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The boil water notices posted on windows around Havelock North was impacting business, Yule said.

Wright & Co cafe director Liv Reynolds said usual rush-hour traffic at lunch time was missing, since the outbreak.

One cafe owner said it had been "extremely challenging" not having clean water.

"We have people away sick, they are wanting sick pay or holiday pay, we have half the income," the Chalk 'n' Cheese Cafe owner Joanie Williams said.

"My biggest concern is that I employee 22 people and that is responsible for the income in to at least 22 families. My concern is continuing to trade and being able to make payroll and looking after those people I'm responsible for."

Black Barn Vineyard and Luxury Retreat in Havelock North had lost bookings because of the water crisis.

Black Barn spokesman Francis de Jager told Newstalk ZB some clients from out of town were not willing to take the risk, and have postponed their bookings.

Chalk 'n' Cheese cafe owner explains the impact of gastro outbreak:

However one couple booked for this weekend won't let campylobacter ruin their big day, which was fortunate for the company, he said.

"There's a wedding and the whole party is staying with us as well. They were very concerned about what the issues may be or the risks. Luckily, they decided to continue with the wedding. Some other retreat guests have decided to put off their stay until another time."

The mayor was considering financial help for people struck down with the illness.

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule. Photo / Paul Taylor
Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule. Photo / Paul Taylor

"Compensation is something council will consider and may be insured for, depending on the circumstances. How that will manifest itself will depend a lot on the outcome of the inquiry. No assessment criteria has been set," Yule said.

Schools have closed after hundreds of children became sick last week and many people have been unable to go to work.

Associate Minister of Health Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga yesterday visited stricken businesses to see how the community was coping.

Business owners at the meeting with Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule. Photo / Paul Taylor
Business owners at the meeting with Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule. Photo / Paul Taylor

Lotu-Iiga said it was "important to hear what people's concerns and issues were on the ground" and to "see what we could do to deviate the problems."

"I just wanted to talk to the residents or local businesses and see how they were handling the issue and see what we could do to deviate the problems," he said.

A Hastings District Council indicator test taken last Thursday returned positive and has since been sent back to be re-tested.

- additional reporting from the Hawke's Bay Today, Newstalk ZB.