Auckland's city centre is collectively set to lose $5 million in retail trade for each day of the mandatory lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said the number of people in the city had declined drastically since Saturday and operators had already begun wrapping up business for the next month and beyond.
The lockdown of all non-essential businesses comes into effect from midnight.
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While the lockdown order from Government for all bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes and non-essential shops to close would result in at least $140 million in lost trade for the Auckland economy, Beck said the clarity the forced closure brought would have come as a relief for many businesses.
The Heart of the City has been tracking the visitor and economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak since February when the first border restrictions were announced.
Up until a week ago, revenue was down an average of 12 per cent, but Beck said that had plummeted further since last Monday.
Over the past week as more people moved to work from home, the severity of Covid-19 has hit hard, many shops in the city centre had remodelled their operations to accommodate and adjust to social-distancing requirements.
Beck said a number of businesses had got creative about how they could continue to operate with reduced customer contact.
Examples of this included restaurants that would not normally offer home delivery offering it, collaborations between businesses to offer home-delivered meals, private shopping experiences.
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Crane Brothers had introduced home visits and designer Kate Sylvester had a book-a-closed-door shopping session, Odette's launched phone orders and delivered food to a customer's car door with a Paywave eftpos machine. Zambesi held a livestream of their latest collection and Unity Books was offering phone recommendations.
"It was great to see that level of creativity and responsiveness. With all the restaurants and shops that changes everything, but what it shows is people have resilience and where they can they adapt."
Olivia Carter, commercial and marketing manager at restaurant and Soul Bar, said on Monday the venue launched Soul to Go, a meal collection and drop-off service for diners who were cautious about dining in.
The service operated for one day before the business, which employs about 90 staff, decided to close its doors yesterday.
It spent most of last week working on the menu and testing the concept.
"In hindsight, we spent a lot of time [in development] whereas maybe we should have just gone live and had it up to help people earlier, but everything escalated quite quickly.
"A part of us is a little bit relieved in a sense because you have staff that really need to work but are a bit scared about being here and around people," she said.
March is typically Soul Bar's second-busiest month of the year after December, posing a big loss in revenue, but Carter said the business supported the reason for shutting all non-essential services, and it was relieved that the initial wage subsidy cap of $150,000 per business was removed.
"It's a huge relief - otherwise this would be a very different story."
Beck said the circumstances around forced closure were unprecedented and had never all been shut at once in Auckland city centre.
"The economic impact is significant, and the normal spend that happens every day is not happening," Beck said.
"By tomorrow, the city will be a very different place."
On Tuesday, a number of hospitality businesses had already closed following a drop in revenue and customers. Around half of city centre businesses had closed ahead of the lockdown.
"There's a lot of emotion, and there's been a lot of anxiety around the massive change in circumstances," Beck said.
"People will have their own personal disappointments, and some fairly major ones, I think people understand why it is happening and it gives some clarity."
While the lockdown would come as a significant financial hit, she said it was good in that it gave business owners some clarity around the situation.