Horowhenua community and business leaders are being encouraged to work together to stymie the impact of coronavirus.

Chairman of Horowhenua New Zealand Trust Anthony Young invited community leaders and business owners to a meeting held at Te Takeretanga o kurā-hau-po last week, to discuss how the virus might effect business and the wider community.

The consensus of the group was to "keep going" and to work together, and to highlight the importance of widely circulating clear and accurate information.

Young said more than 40 people, from big employers to small business owners, council staff and managers of major supermarkets, shared information and ideas on how to look after their staff, themselves, and the wider community.


"We wanted to bring it closer to home to make sure businesses in the community are well prepared and well informed," he said.

"It's important that businesses remain stable and continue to operate effectively."

Young said no two business were the same, whether it was a motel unit owner or a market gardener, and each business could respond and react to changes in different ways.

The meeting was also a chance to workshop on how best manage business-related issues, but to ensure the well-being of "not only staff, but yourself, too," he said.

"It is important to reach out and ask for help," he said.

Young said few businesses had been in talks with their bank. He encouraged others to do so as it was important to begin discussions early and formalise plans.

"An important message was to be pro-active with the bank. It is important to keep that communication early in case you run into challenges."

Representatives from Ministry of Social Development, Inland Revenue Department and CEDA gave talks at the meeting, while Dr Rob Weir live-streamed with a reassuring talk that said the likelihood of a widespread outbreak in New Zealand remained low.


Meanwhile, Levin New World manager Gwen Bailey said while customer numbers were normal, overall sales were up slightly as they tended to buy an extra item or two, like soup or canned food, and toilet paper.

There was no cause for panic though, as they had plenty of toilet paper in stock, she said.

Items that were selling well included foam handwash, disinfectant products like Dettol, soup, canned food and bottled water.

"Which is a bit strange as I don't think water supply will be an issue," she said.

"I think there is concern, but people are being very responsible."

Bailey said their store already had a robust sanitising regime in place, where trolley and surfaces were routinely wiped and disinfected, and those measures had been in place for almost 10 years.

Meanwhile, all Horowhenua Schools were keeping in close contact with Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health and were working hard to educate students about hygiene measures.

Schools were also circulating a video that helped explain the virus to children, available at education.govt.nz.

UCOL's Chief of Operations Lyal French-Wright said they had made a decision to suspended all graduation ceremonies.

"We did not make this decision lightly. Celebrating our graduates' success is a key moment of our calendar," she said.

"However, by limiting large gatherings, given the current situation in New Zealand and globally, we can act in the best interests of the health and safety of our communities."

Overseas travel restrictions were having an affect on holiday makers with one Levin couple cancelling an overseas cruise they had planned for months.

Three teenage Horowhenua softball players have had their six-day trip to compete at an international tournament in Australia indefinitely postponed.

Keanu Jennings, Dante Roper and Eruera Matehaere were due to leave today with a New Zealand Academy team. They had fundraised to meet costs associated with the tournament.