Bay of Plenty moteliers are bracing themselves for business closures as cancellations climb, bookings plummet and revenues dry-up in the wake of Covid-19.
Emergency meetings were held in Tauranga this week with hospitality and tourism sector leaders and operators after the ''the rug was pulled from underneath them''.
The news comes after sweeping announcements over the past week from the Government that included New Zealand closing its borders to all tourists and a $12.1 billion package targeted to help keep businesses operating.
Yesterday Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield confirmed there were 39 cases of Covid-19 in the country including one in Rotorua.
Hospitality New Zealand accommodation sector Bay of Plenty chairman and 850 Cameron Motel owner Tony Bullot said the sector was facing ''unprecedented times'' and some businesses would be more affected than others.
Those most leveraged would face some hard situations as the industry scrambled to implement strategies.
Bullot said everyone was pretty much reeling from it and "there will be people going under ... guaranteed".
He acknowledged the Government wage subsidises would be useful as it would keep people in jobs but ''there is not much in the package for businesses''.
Bethlehem Motor Inn owner Matt Gartshore said they were fielding more cancellations than bookings and business had dropped by more than 50 per cent.
Every motel was operating under different conditions whether they were leased or owned so people would be talking to their bank or landlord, he said.
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"If you have a lease you obviously have to pay your monthly rent. And that's in the tens of thousands of dollars depending on how big your property is."
Gartshore had applied for the subsidy to keep his six staff in jobs but that only lasted for 12 weeks and he expected the fallout to continue longer.
Bay Explorer owner-operator Brandon Stone said international tourism had dropped and he was taking the downturn in business "day by day''.
Stone said he was also worried about the future and if Covid-19 arrived in Tauranga that could potentially impact on the domestic market and spell the temporary closure of the business.
His business had between four and eight employees, he said. It was a family-owned business so the impact went beyond him.
Dolphin Seafaris owner Cille Fabert said she was "very" concerned for her business.
Fabert said the company focus had shifted to the local market and it would be "cutting prices drastically".
It had already had limited the number of people allowed on the boat to 20 - less than half of the usual 49.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said there was a lot of anxiety in the business community.
''Many tourism, venues, entertainment operators had the rug pulled from underneath them on Monday with immediate booking cancellations.
Some businesses have too many staff for their declining sales, while other businesses have a massive shortage of staff including supermarkets, deliveries, kiwifruit and the banking sector, he said.
''This was an economic black swan event that has taken the world by surprise. Few people anticipated it would reach these levels of economic restrictions.''
Many businesses were saying they would reach the $150,000 cap for wage subsidies within a few weeks, he said.
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said ''our industry is hurting''.
The pandemic was affecting a range of businesses, including tourism, accommodation, transport and language schools.
On Thursday night 60 operators attended its meeting while 30 watched via live stream.
Dunne said questions and concerns included: how to support guests needing to self-isolate; how to apply for the Government support package and distribute it to staff; how to stay afloat when all business is international clientele, and should we be closing our doors?
''Guidelines on all of these questions have been requested; also how to support the mental health of people in isolation and how to support visitors that might be stranded in New Zealand.''
Tourism Bay of Plenty had set up a dedicated hub on its website with the latest information and what it was unable to answer it would elevate to the appropriate Government body, she said.
''The recovery will begin with domestic tourism so we are also thinking ahead to beyond this current situation and have a local and domestic marketing plan ready to go.''
Many businesses still had bookings for later in the year and some are viewing this time as an opportunity to diversify their offering, she said.
''The general consensus from everyone is that we'll batten down the hatches, work together and support each other as an industry.''
Kiwibank northern head of business banking Dylan Newbold said it was ''doing what we can to respond to the evolving Covid-19 situation''.
''Cashflow is a business' lifeblood and some of the support mechanisms we can put in place include a short-term working capital facility, interest-only or a principal repayment holiday.''
He said business owners need to look after themselves and their teams and make informed decisions when they are calm and thinking straight.
- Additional reporting Esme O'Rafferty