Glad to be able to be back. That is the sentiment at clothing company Swazi, said owner Davey Hughes.
His team has kept working through the lockdown as the company supplies gear to NZ Police, Ambulance and Search and Rescue, relying on existing stock to supply them.

"We had one person in despatch and couldn't manufacture under level 4. Under level 3 we were back making product lines under very strict rules.

"We had a lot of staff input before starting manufacturing again. We wanted to be sure we did everything to make them feel safe at work. I am confident that what we accomplished is keeping all of them safe," said Hughes.

Under level 2 the Swazi shop opened its doors again. Hughes said the shop was busy from the start and customers had showed great understanding.

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"There was confusion about the contact tracing and the need for recording contact details. We keep a log of everyone entering both the factory and the shop."

He said overseas demand for Swazi gear had remained strong throughout the lockdown and now that the New Zealand winter is here he expects the majority of sales to come from New Zealand customers.
"We still get orders from both Europe and North America, but in the winter the local demand rockets up."

All Swazi staff are still employed, but a few are not at work for various reasons.

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Hughes said he had noticed people being kind to each others and not minding the delays. "People are more cruisy right now."

Under level 1 Swazi will be back at full strength, he said.
"We are very aware of the rules we need to follow and are confident we can beat this thing and we can maintain our levels of sales. Supplying to locals is the best thing we can do," he said.