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A greengrocer who had to dump about 15,000 pieces of produce, and a party hire company with five months of work cancelled are just two examples of Rotorua businesses hurting in the Covid-19 crisis.
And Bay of Plenty business advisers say they are fielding hundreds of calls from business owners whose heads were spinning over the impact of the coronavirus.
Owner of Fruit Monster on Lake Rd, Ashok Adlakha, said he had more than 30,000 items of fruit and vegetables to get rid of when the nationwide lockdown was ordered last week.
In an attempt to minimise wastage, Ashok said he tried to donate the food, including to Salvation Army and other charities, but they could only take half.
After three or four days, the remaining produce started to smell and he sadly had to chuck it in the rubbish.
Andy's Marquee and Party Hire managing director Daniel Martin said he lost a lot of business when the Government banned public gatherings and asked public venues to close.
"It was just a tough 48 hours ... We have lost everything all the way through to about August at this stage but it could be longer."
Martin's biggest worry was the uncertainty of what the events industry will look like in the future.
"Is it going to stop festivals? That is the unknown. Events may never be the same."
He had applied for wage subsidies to be able to pay his nine staff - his first priority - and he had plans in place if the lockdown was extended.
The positives, he said, were customers were still making inquiries for October, November and December events and he was able to supply some marquees to Covid-19 testing stations.
"It is not the end just yet. To me, it is like a chess game. The queen is exposed but it is not checkmate."
In March, the government provided $4m funding to the Regional Business Partnership Network (RBP) nationwide to help support businesses affected by Covid-19.
The funding went to expanding the resources of business advisors across Tauranga, the Eastern Bay and Rotorua chambers, as well as for Poutama Trust to help Māori business networks and owners.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said business advisors across the region were talking to "literally hundreds" of affected businesses.
"Some are picking up, most are down, some have totally stopped. It's going to take a while for the dust to settle."
Heard said different sectors had been affected in different ways and the effects ranged from severe to minor and from long to short term, with many interested in how to access the government packages.
"There are a lot of people still head spinning with the impact. The impact of it is so severe but it's time for calm heads working together to make the best of a bad situation."
Regional growth advisor Linda Bradbrook said the chamber received nearly 80 requests for advice in the last three days.
"In the wider BOP, numbers are over 200 and growing by the hour."
Bradbrook said businesses were wondering how to organise themselves, especially with a high likelihood international tourism numbers were going to be very low for the next few months.
"Many businesses and their employees are struggling with Covid-19-related employment law obligations with respect to restructuring, redundancy and change of work hours."
Local service provider Tammy Lee from Goal Digger - HR, a company specialising in local small and medium enterprises - said businesses were in distress.
"They are trying their absolute best to look after their staff and maintain their business, during a very challenging and ever-changing time."
- Additional reporting Zizi Sparks
Where to get help
·Business advisors are local business professionals who can provide free, practical advice and support for businesses with short-term relief and long-term planning.
·Support includes access to free webinars, one-on-one support, business mentoring and business capability development, and specialist support for business owners where the costs are often covered by additional funding.
·Topics covered include staffing and HR, health and wellness, business continuity planning, finance and cash flow, employment law, marketing strategy and development, and more.
·Access to this service is available for any Bay business (they don't need to be members).
Businesses can access this service by contacting the Biz Hub helpline on:
- If you are based in Central Bay of Plenty, please contact Linda on 021 837 8222 or email@example.com
- If you are based in Eastern Bay of Plenty, please contact 07 219 3827 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spending drops in Bay
- There were just over $1 million transactions in the Bay between March 22 and 29 - nearly 45 per cent less than the same time last year.
- Bay shoppers spent $62.3m, which was about 26 per cent less than 2019.
- Nationwide, restaurants, cafes and bars dropped the most at a massive 87 per cent and 78 per cent for accommodation the first week of lockdown.
- Spending at pharmacies jumped a massive 81 per cent and 52 per cent at food and liquor stores the week before lockdown and 25 per cent for pharmacies and 31 per cent for food and liquor the week after.