Tauranga businesses are feeling the disruption and bracing themselves for more as the implications of coronavirus continue to jolt the economy.
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This comes as the Government announces a $4 million boost to help struggling businesses.
Pāpāmoa's House of Travel owner-operator, Tanya Aitken, said it had been "all hands on deck" with the team as people had many queries around what the outbreak meant for their travel plans.
The virus had affected some immediate travel plans, but "only a small number of Kiwis are opting to cancel their future travel plans with some deferring travel where possible", she said.
The agency was encouraging consumers to follow Safe Travel New Zealand's advisories on where to travel.
Hello World general manager of marketing David Libeau said New Zealanders were still booking trips but were opting for destinations closer to home, such as Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Despite the Diamond Princess being quarantined in Yokohama, cruise trips were still proving popular with sales for Princess Cruise Lines and Cunard selling out within days
He said the company believed changes in travel patterns would be short-lived, as seen following Sars and the 9/11 attacks.
Hospitality New Zealand accommodation sector Bay of Plenty chairman and 850 Cameron Motel owner Tony Bullot said there had been "several last-minute cancellations" after the first verified case of coronavirus.
There had been a drop in international tourists at both his motel and others in the area, but bookings for local corporate and general travellers had not changed.
Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty regional manager Alan Sciascia said the businesses most affected were those that catered to foreign tourists. He had not yet heard of any downturn for businesses that focused on the local market.
This came as the Government announced a $4 million boost to the Regional Business Partners Programme to help support businesses affected by coronavirus and prevent job losses.
Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said the funding was intended to help businesses with "practical advice" on issues such as payroll and tax payments.
The Government was also creating up to 16 Ministry of Social Development teams to assist with immediate needs such as helping move workers into other employment and referring those in need of further support to other government agencies, Twyford said.
Businesses could access the Regional Business Partners Programme funding boost through the local Chamber of Commerce and other regional business partners.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said he was pleased the Government had acted fast to make funding available, but it should not be seen as a "white knight sent to rescue businesses from disasters".
The chamber was working with government agencies to decide on funding criteria and priorities for the funding and it was likely that further training options, professional support and business mentoring would be made available.
He said it was unclear which industries would benefit most, but Cowley said the funding would most likely focus on small to medium businesses in the tourism, hospitality, retail and primary sectors.
Classic Builders' Peter Cooney said there had been no signs of a slowdown - yet.
If the disruption continued, it would have an impact on other sectors, such as tourism, which would result in fewer people looking to build houses, he said.
Infrastructure New Zealand chief executive Paul Blair said a slowdown in the tourism and dairy industries in the Bay of Plenty region would likely impact areas such as the private house construction industry.
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said coronavirus was unlikely to have a large impact on construction, but international education, forestry and tourism were being hit.
To hongi or not to hongi
A Bay of Plenty iwi leader says the decision on whether hongi during pōwhiri should be temporarily stopped after the third confirmed case of coronavirus is one that should come from discussion among iwi.
This comes as RNZ reports a Wellington mana whenua have temporarily stopped the vital part of pōwhiri due to the Covid-19 situation and as the two-day Te Arawa Kapa Haka Regional Competition was set to start today.Ngāti Whakaue leader Monty Morrison said he could understand why the Wellington iwi would take that action to minimise the risk posed to manuhiri (visitors) and their people.
He said the hongi - or the pressing of noses to exchange breath - was an important part of the pōwhiri because it helped lift the tapu-status of manuhiri to the marae when the "the life force of breath" was shared while touching noses.
However, Morrison said karakia had been used in the past as another way to free manuhiri of tapu and bring them in as noa (common).
He said the discussion on whether to temporarily restrict hongi was one that kaumatua from different marae would need to make for themselves.
Rotorua Lakes Council cultural ambassador Trevor Maxwell called for a "calm and measured" response to the coronavirus situation.
He said the kapa haka regionals would go ahead, with event organisers following health direction from the Lakes District Health Board and Toi Te Ora.