Organisers of a popular Rotorua market are considering options to keep vendors and the public safe.
It comes as the Goverment considers introducing vaccination passports. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday these could be used for events and could help give that industry more certainty.
The Kuirau Park Saturday Market is run by a team of Rotary Rotorua North volunteers, with all money made each Saturday going back into the community.
Market director Garry Adlam said it was on the market committee meeting agenda tomorrow to decide whether to make vaccines a condition of entry.
"We have to take extra precautions to keep everyone safe."
He said it was also about making sure the vendors felt safe to come to the market.
"It's a source of [stallholders] survival ... it's a big part of their livelihood. They are struggling."
A few of the committee members were "pretty staunch" on making sure the market was as safe as possible.
"The only way we can make sure it's safe is to make sure that everyone is vaccinated."
With 50 stalls and up to 2000 people through each market, it was not possible to run at any level above level 1.
The markets haven't run since the August lockdown. The six missed events equated to around $6000 that would usually go into the community.
Over the 32 years of the market's history, it's been held at six different locations around the city. It was officially planted at its permanent spot in November last year.
"It was starting to really pump on Saturdays ... it's a bit disappointing that we can't run."
Adlam got weekly calls from people asking if and when the markets would be back.
"They miss it."
Meanwhile, food truck owners are living off their savings and Government subsidies, nervous to book the events they heavily rely on with the risks of losing thousands if cancelled.
Johney's Dumpling House owner Johney Zhou said his savings have disappeared and he "wouldn't be anywhere without the wage subsidy".
"Debt is being accumulated just so we can keep the dumpling dream alive."
Zhou's business was a caravan that travelled around the Bay of Plenty, attending the Rotorua Night Market on most Thursday nights in level 1.
He had a permanent spot at The Rising Tide in Mount Maunganui and Our Place in Tauranga.
He said events were the core of the business - and how he started and marketed the brand.
In 2019, the dumpling business was booked to 130 events and markets from December to March.
This dropped to under 100 last year after Zhou let go of some experienced staff following a period of no events and changing alert levels.
"We do rely on the summer, it's what helps us get through."
This was the time of year to book the events, but this involved putting down a big deposit they might not see again if the event was cancelled.
Zhou said tourists or people on working visas were both the customers as well as staff and were keen to work through summer.
"To convince some staff to stay with you when you don't even know yourself what's going to happen. It is worrying, but I try to keep positive."
Rotorua Lakes Council, Arts & Culture business development manager Jo Doherty said summer, traditionally the busiest season, was "really important" to stallholders.
It was also important for community wellbeing and visitors, she said.
The last Night Market was held on August 12 and Food Truck Thursday - a smaller version of the Night Market - was set up and ready to run two weeks ago, but was cancelled both weeks due to weather.
She said the alert level guidelines reduced the number of visitors allowed which made it challenging for stallholders.
"But it is what it is ... our main priority is to keep everyone safe."
She said the Night Market still had all its stallholders, with similar numbers to last year.
At this stage, a vaccine condition of entry had not been discussed or considered, but they would keep following the Government guidelines, she said.
Tauranga-based Heat Caravan did events around the region and owner Felipe Boff was booked out until March next year, but the bookings mean nothing if events did not go ahead.
He hasn't been able to work since the country went into lockdown.
"I have lots of jobs to do, I just have to be able to do it ... This year is basically lost."
He was living off his savings, money that was put aside for a house, and the Government subsidy to "try to survive".
If no events went ahead this summer, he said he would need to find another job, as many other food truck owners he knew were now doing.
"It's the only way to pay for the kids, food, school."
Machup Burger owner Alex Dalerci said food trucks owners could "lose thousands" if an event was cancelled.
The Pāpāmoa-based truck did events around Tauranga and Dalerci said booking events was nerve-wracking with few options for payments.
He said he knew many food truck owners were waiting to book as level 2 and 3 meant no events and "everyone loses their money".
Some organisers gave some of the money back, others gave nothing back if an event didn't go ahead.
Dalerci worked seven days a week during summer.
"It's a very hard time for food truckers ... we are struggling ... We're all in the same boat."
He said he would need to live off savings if he was unable to work, but said he was fortunate he did not have rent to pay.