Level 2 most certainly feels different to 3 and 4. However, it doesn't feel at all like the normality which preceded this duel with "a novel" invisible enemy.
I am trying not to use terminology like "new normal" for the reason that I am hoping the things which were so important about human interaction can be retained.
For the retailers and businesses I have visited since last Thursday, I have to say "well done" – I think that most have adopted sensible and practical measures for managing the movement of people in store.
However, I'm not sure that sharing a pen to sign a register is the most effective way of keeping record and suppressing a virus.
While it is important to develop an information trail while trying to stop a virus, what little we understand about the virus is that it can primarily spread through surface contact.
In one store I noted a family ignore this and in another I had to tell a couple of guys to sign in and instruct them on how to use the hand sanitiser provided.
Not that I believe this lies solely at the feet of the retailer. The information and instruction supporting the move out of level 3 has been hazy at times – this was especially evident with the changes to funeral numbers and the confusing treatment of other religious ceremonies.
However, it is great to see that retailers and service providers can get back into trading and getting revenue streams going.
But there is more to be done and, while the Budget gave a high level view of a "first tranche" of funding, it was short of precision and shorter still on packages to assist affected industries. I am hopeful there is more to come, but tourism needs significantly more than was presented last Thursday.
Equally, the funding available to businesses via the Regional Business Partner programme has been invaluable for those that have accessed it.
Whanganui retail portal opening soon
Let Whanganui manage its own lockdown and allow businesses to get back to work
Over-exposure danger as NZ steps down to level 3 lockdown
I recently completed watching The Last Dance, a fabulous documentary about Michael Jordan and The Chicago Bulls' final championship season in 1998.
While it was clearly an insight into the mindset of a winner, it also vividly highlighted how to deal with and triumph over adversity. Mindset is crucial and, in fact, many of the clients I am helping at the moment are finding reserves of strength which are getting them through this period.
One thing that Jordan said when the team had just lost to the very tough Indiana Pacers was that to beat them Indiana "had to go through Chicago". That particularly resonated for me in terms of our current situation.
The recovery, creation of jobs and prosperity all run through small to medium enterprises (SMEs). There is adversity, sure, but the "success" to be found in this economic progression will arise, multiply and spread from small to medium businesses. Here is where innovation begins and solutions to problems are invariably found – due to the fact that they are small and nimble and able to contribute quickly to their community.
So, it goes without saying that, if there is more funding to come, more tailored and directed small business funding is required.