"The difference between us being open and closed is over $1 million a day," says SkyCity chief executive Michael Ahearn.
That's the reality of the hard lockdown for one company employing 2500 people, toughing it out in the last fortnight.
Ahearn told the Herald what it's costing yet he firmly backs the Government move and has no questions about the country's strategy. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Friday that Auckland would likely be in level 4 for another two weeks.
SkyCity Entertainment Group
SkyCity has restaurants, bars, cafes, casinos, tourist attractions like SkyTower and the new All Blacks Experience and several hotels that are having to stay shut.
"We have 2500 staff employed in New Zealand and that's the financial difference between us being open and closed. We make about $1m profit, or over $1m profit a day in New Zealand."
Asked how the company could afford to pay its 2500 people when little revenue was being earned, he said: "We're paying out of our own funds right now. Last year, we took the wage subsidy and made a partial repayment."
National businesses and especially retailers have been operating under lockdown conditions with only small parts of their operations able to continue under alert level 4.
Consumers have had trouble figuring out what's open and what's shut and business leaders are questioning the lockdown and its economic toll.
Confusion has dogged this sector in the last fortnight, with people questioning what can and what can't be open - and why. Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said although essential items can be sold online, there were few details as to which goods are classified as essential.
First Union has called out several of New Zealand's largest retailers for what they characterise as a "piss take" approach to the lockdown, calling in staff to help perform "ordinary duties" such as stock-taking and fulfilling online orders even if the items aren't essential.
The Herald spoke to several retailers asking how they are coping.
The Warehouse said it was selling only essential products online with a help of limited number of staff.
A spokesperson said the company was following the Government's operational guidelines including providing PPE gear for the staff who were on duty.
"Team members who are over 70, are immunocompromised or have dependants are not required to work," the spokesperson said.
The group, which owns retail chains The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, Torpedo7 and online marketplace The Market, said all team members are being paid in full through the current lockdown, regardless of whether they are working or not.
The company's fulfilment centres are operational and staff members who are working more than five hours a day were being paid a bonus of $15 a day, the spokesperson said.
At this stage The Warehouse had not applied for the latest wage subsidy but was "keeping an eye on how things evolve".
The 84-store Mitre 10 chain, with more than 6000 staff, said essential supplies for trade and retail customers were operating with strict protocols, including minimum staff numbers, mandatory masks, physical distancing and hygiene measures.
"At alert level 4, online shopping is limited to essential products for contactless home delivery only. A curated range of essentials is clearly marked on our website to help our customers identify what they can and can't order. Trade supplies are limited to essential services only," Mitre 10 said.
At alert level 3, a wider product range will be available to order online and retail customers will be able to choose between contactless click and collect within managed time slots and contactless home delivery.
"At alert level 3, trade customers may be permitted managed access to trade drive-through areas, do contactless click and collect or get delivery to a site," Mitre 10 said.
In New South Wales, Bunnings has been open its big green sheds throughout weeks of lockdown across that Covid-hit state, although that's changed lately. In New Zealand, all Bunnings 48 stores must stay shut under alert level 4, seeing most of the 4941 staff indefinitely furloughed.
Ben Camire, Bunnings NZ chief executive, said some stores were still open to emergency services and trade customers for essential items needed for critical or urgent repairs.
"We're also offering a range of essential products online for contactless delivery to customers' homes. A limited range of hardware supplies, heating and electrical products and cleaning and safety items are currently available. We know winter is a challenging time if heating, plumbing or power failures occur and we want to ensure that these products are available if needed," said Camire, who replaced Jacqui Coombes.
Staff in the stores open for trade customers and for online orders were taking special measures: checking in via the NZ Covid tracer QR code, using hand sanitiser, face-covering and increased cleaning measures, particularly on counters, trolleys and baskets with antiviral disinfectants, he said.
He thanked customers "for their understanding and our teams are looking forward to welcoming them back in-store when restrictions ease. All team members rostered to work this week or last week are being paid their full hours. Following Monday's announcement of the alert level 4 extension, we are reviewing all the information and will be finalising ongoing arrangements in the coming days," Camire said.
Under level 3, Bunnings will be able to open but customers will have to wear a face-covering and to check in using the Covid tracer QR codes. Bunnings will then implement physical distancing measures, including designated entry and exit points and taping floors to mark 2m.
Acrylic guards, trestle tables and barriers will rise at service desks and registers and tap and pay will be encouraged.
PlaceMakers and Mico
Staff at Fletcher Building's retail operations via its 140-shop national PlaceMakers and Mico stores are continuing to be paid the usual pay for permanent and fixed-term employees.
Asked what services it was providing, given confusion around essential services, Fletcher said PlaceMakers was offering a callout service for the supply of building materials needed by tradespeople to maintain other alert level 4 businesses or services.
"We follow strict Covid-19 safety protocols when supplying trade account customers to protect the safety of everyone. Mico is supporting the supply of materials to their trade account holders for emergency work. Any supplies are provided in a contactless manner. Trade customers have been informed of the Covid-19 protocols, including what is deemed emergency work," Fletchers said.
Closure of such a big chain of national stores "interrupts our normal day-to-day operations as you'd expect. Where possible, our team are working from home."
Asked about the outlook and how this affects total revenue and sales, Fletchers said: "Closing stores will have a significant impact on sales but it is too early to say with certainty what that impact will be as it depends on the duration of lockdown at level 4."
Scentre Group, which owns 51 per cent of New Zealand's five biggest malls, is similarly affected. Peter Allen, chief executive, said: "We're retaining them and continuing to pay them. They're working from home."
Only essential operations could continue in New Zealand: petrol, pharmacy and supermarket operations at Westfields at Albany, Newmarket, St Lukes, Manukau and Riccarton, he said.
Discount electronic goods retailer JB Hi-Fi declined to comment. The Australia-based retailer store has 15 stores across New Zealand.
The retailers Albany store in North of Auckland was marked as a location of interest on two separate occasions; August 13 and 15.
Briscoe Group chief executive Rod Duke said he was not going to take the Government's wage subsidy because he believed the lockdown was not going to last too long especially in the South Island.
He said he's more confident this lockdown.
"I think if we end up like some of the states in Australia when we have lockdown for 210 days it might be quite different, but at this particular point I don't see us heading in that direction."