South Island businesses are disappointed to remain in alert level 4 for the next four days, yet hopeful of going down to level 3.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today that all of New Zealand would move down an alert level after Tuesday midnight, excluding Auckland and Northland which are likely to remain at level 4 for a fortnight after that.
Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said the nationwide extension of alert level 4 until August 31 was disappointing, but she was satisfied to get the confirmation that most of New Zealand would likely move down a level after that.
"Many of the businesses we have been talking to had been hoping to move down a level today, so they can either operate tomorrow or put plans in place for Monday, as we know that at alert level 3, 90 per cent of businesses will be able to operate and do so safely.
"We also know that in lockdown Treasury has forecast it to cost the country $1.45b per week - and that's just the economic impact, not to mention the emotional toll on many people," Watson said.
The ongoing lockdowns cannot be part of our long-term future, and accelerating the vaccination programme was crucial, she said.
Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said many restaurant owners were expecting to move to alert level 3 on the weekend and extension until Tuesday would be disappointing to them.
"We urge all of those hospitality businesses that are doing it hard right now, to stay strong and seek out help," she said.
Although the recent feedback from association members showed the majority of them supported the level 4 lockdown, 75 per cent wouldn't be financially viable after two weeks at this level, Bidois said.
"Equally, we have heard from several members that they had only just made their final repayments on loans from the 2020 lockdowns, so they're devastated they're back in that position of starting the process again.
"Most people will understand just how challenging level 4 is for any industry that can't work from home. For businesses owners, it means no revenue at all which is very stressful when you have bills to pay.
Many hospitality workers were also being affected of isolation of being at home unable to work, she said.
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Earlier today the chambers of commerce from the upper North Island released a survey showing many firms were are still operating in some form during lockdown, but around a third doubt they will survive the pandemic.
The survey of around 2000 businesses by the Northern Chambers of Commerce, which takes in Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga and Taupo revealed sharp differences between regions on almost every measure, from likelihood to take the wage subsidy, to redundancy expectations.
It found 61 per cent of businesses were operating to some extent under level four lockdown, but while 75 per cent were operating in Auckland, just 31 per cent were operating in Taupo.
Of the businesses operating, only 11 per cent were operating "full time", however the proportion was much higher in Waikato at 22 per cent, a region with a large proportion of primary industry businesses.