An economic agency has estimated 4500 jobs could be lost in the Western Bay due to Covid-19 but some business owners are vowing to remain optimistic despite the ''very gloomy outlook'' .
Priority One released its calculation via an online update to members which said assuming there was a four to six week shutdown '' we'd expect economic growth to be down 10-20 per cent for the quarter, a huge number''.
''Over the next six to nine months, unemployment is forecast to get to around 10 per cent nationally. We'd expect the Western Bay to do slightly better than that, but even if we increase by 5 per cent that is around 4500 jobs that would be lost.''
Locally the impact had been hardest felt in the tourism, hospitality, construction and manufacturing sectors, Tutt said.
''Despite the very gloomy outlook, we have been heartened by a number of good stories too, and optimism about the position of our local economy to bounce back.''
Yesterday Tutt told the Bay of Plenty Times there were some positives for the region.
''Our largest employing companies and organisations can all work to a degree, either as essential businesses or from home. We're also fortunate that most of our key industries should be able to resume trading post-lockdown, so we're not as badly affected as other regions of New Zealand that might have been more dependent on international tourism for example.''
Additionally, it was likely some of local industries including horticulture may need staff and ''would be able to offer some jobs once they get back to full operation''.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said many of its members had already contacted their bank, landlord, key customers and suppliers, and had
applied for government's staff wage subsidies.
''They are now preparing for life after the lockdown has eased, although the physical distancing restrictions will likely remain in place for a few months. They are preparing for trading online, curbside pick-ups and delivery options, and how to manage person-to-person contact.''
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Tauranga was New Zealand's freight gateway to the world which would also help with the recovery.
''We have a strong primary sector and we have expertise in logistics services associated with the Port of Tauranga.''
Papamoa Beach Superette and Papamoa Pita Pit owner TJ Shah said the current economic climate was difficult but he remained hopeful.
He had vowed to look after his 16 staff, despite the challenging circumstances and they were being paid for hours which would have been worked.
''They have looked after me and now I need to look after them for as long as I can''.
Shan said he had taken advantage of the wage subsidy and was open and honest with communication about what that would look like further down the track.
A Tauranga gym owner who had been in the industry for decades and did not want to be named said he could not pay his bills or his lease.
Because gyms were in lockdown people had cancelled their debits.
''So if there is no money coming in there is no money going out.''
Papamoa Plaza centre manager David Hill said there was a lot of uncertainty perpetuated by the changing information coming from different sources which was a cause of concern.
He was looking forward to the government chartering its post lockdown course but acknowledged business would never be the same again and some were taking the opportunity to close.
The plaza has 48 stores including Countdown and the My Pharmacy Papamoa which continue to trade and Hill welcomed the government wage subsidy that would keep some people in jobs.
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell said there was no doubt that job loss would impact the city, and tourism and hospitality would be the worst hit.
"But Western Bay is in a good position compared to some," he said. "We are going to really need skilled staff in times to come ... My prediction is we are going to bounce back quite quickly after this."
Last month Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said after an emergency meeting with members of the sector ''our industry is hurting''.
''The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting a huge range of businesses, including tourism activities, accommodation, transport providers and language schools.''
To the year-end January 2020, the visitor economy in the Coastal Bay of Plenty was worth $1.121 billion per annum.
Meanwhile, industry experts expect one in every two hospitality venues in some parts of the country may never reopen following the lockdown and looming recession.
Marisa Bidois, chief executive of the Restaurant Association, said the association expects about 21 per cent of the sector's 18,000 businesses will close permanently over the next 12 months.
"It's sad; it's definitely a hard time for our industry."
Recent research from the Restaurant Association, conducted before the lockdown, found that 30 per cent of hospitality operators had already restructured, seven
per cent had closed permanently and 16 per cent had closed temporarily.