Kāpiti businesses are being urged by the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce to plan a staged recovery from Covid-19 as the country looks to move from Alert Level 4.
Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce chair Jacinda Thorn expects it will take time for businesses to adjust to the 'new normal' when New Zealand exits Level 4 restrictions.
"The retail, construction and hospitality sectors are crucial to Kāpiti, and these businesses will need to pivot and adjust quickly to operating under the Alert system - for example Level 3 will also mean significant restrictions," she said.
"While we don't know how long we will be under the Alert Level system for, businesses can start anticipating and planning now for what they need to do to keep the lights on, as we navigate the longer-term impacts of the pandemic."
These statements come after Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen presented an update on the economy with a specific view of the Kāpiti district in a webinar, hosted by Kāpiti Coast District Council for members of the Kāpiti business community.
Brad provided new advice on the Kāpiti economy, how it's placed to respond to Covid-19, and said he believes Kāpiti has a resilient economy with room to innovate.
"Kāpiti has a resilient economy that is well positioned to rebound after the Covid-19 pandemic passes, but it's important to remember that the local economy will suffer a significant hit in line with the national downturn," he said.
"Kāpiti's economy is diverse and is likely positioned slightly better than some other parts of the country to weather the economic storm we find ourselves in.
"A high rate of self-employment (around 28 per cent) means there are a number of small businesses who can react and pivot much faster to the new economic normal."
He said retail activity in Kāpiti is under threat as spending habits change and consumers become more cautious about their spending.
The entertainment budget which is normally made up of discretionary spending will also be drastically impacted making it hard for the arts sectors alike.
He believes businesses need to focus on extracting maximum value from people to make their shopping worthwhile and renew the consumer's focus on buying and spending locally by creating a unique shopping experience.
Construction is a significant industry for Kāpiti and is expected to bounce back quickly.
"Construction is a key sector for Kāpiti and is well positioned to quickly gear-up to support New Zealand and the Wellington Region's economic recovery with central government committing to significant capital spending to get infrastructure construction underway."
Jacinda Thorn said a business confidence survey held just before the Level 4 Lockdown revealed gaps in contingency planning within local businesses.
"While 64 per cent of businesses report contingency plans 28 per cent had none.
"It's at times like these we understand how important this work is.
"In just a few weeks, the way we've always done business has changed significantly.
"There is much we can observe and learn - and use - over the coming weeks to help shift our economy to meet the needs of our new reality.
"We look forward to helping our business community do this."
Council has been working closely with the Chamber as well as Business Kāpiti Horowhenua, Kāpiti Economic Development Agency (KEDA), Elevate Ōtaki, Manaaki Kāpiti, Kāpiti Arts & Creative Industries and Paraparaumu Beach Business Association to deliver webinars and resources for local businesses and while this specific webinar was delivered in response to Covid-19, there may be follow-up sessions if there is demand for it.
Around 100 people watched the webinar live with it available for viewing here.