1 Mar 2021

Businesses frustrated by another Covid-19 level 3 lockdown

From Checkpoint, 5:14 pm on 1 March 2021

Just two weeks after a three-day lockdown businesses are facing another hit. 

Bars, restaurants and shops were forced to shut up shop at 6am on Sunday - reverting back to level 3 operations. 

Central Auckland at 9am on the first morning of the latest level 3 lockdown.

Photo: RNZ / Robert Smith

Auckland's North Shore was locked down once more and frustrated at another alert level change. 

Down a usually bustling shopping strip on Hurstmere Road in Takapuna it was back to social distancing and click and collect and takeaways, this time for seven days. 

Holyshot cafe owner Shannon Rogers said to keep afloat during the restrictions they have had to scale things right back. 

"Yeah we're shutting hours down so there's myself and Tess my business partner so it's just us two working on site at the moment and doing shorter hours trying to keep wage costs and that down. 

"Then three part-timers as well - we're lucky they're uni students so we try and give them minimal hours as they need." 

They have also had to receive help from their landlord with discounted rent to compensate for a lack of business. 

Takapuna Jesters Pies owner Lin Tan said another level 3 lockdown was worrying. 

"Definitely is not good news for us, of course has a huge effect. This time because it's long term, so, yeah."

They were relying on food delivery services like Uber Eats but the main thing that kept them going was the locals. 

"We do have lots of regular customers and they do support us a lot. They say 'don't worry, we'll be here' and they're quite nice and make us feel like, yeah, we're all together." 

It was not just the hospitality sector that was feeling the squeeze. 

Florienne Florist usually supplies to a regular group of businesses and hospitals but under level 3 that was not possible. 

Instead they were relying on online orders with contactless delivery.

Owner Franca Logan said business was at an all time low. 

"We've had a lot of events cancel this week. It's great that we can work but it's also more labourious for us, takes more time, we have to buy online and do drive outs. Even today my business is probably 60-70 percent down just for today." 

She said they had to keep ordering flowers despite the risk of not selling them.  

"A lot of standing orders we have with growers, we have to still honour those even though we might not have the business to sell them but that also goes two ways, I wouldn't want to ever cancel these orders because they have to eat as well, you know, just like us."

The Coop manager Cheryl Kour said she had only had one order so far.
"It's very bad to be honest, businesses are not doing well, streets are empty, no people around." 

Even takeaways and pick-up orders were dwindling for The Coop and their usual regulars seemed cautious to spend money under level 3 uncertainty. 

She said the main concern was supporting staff but there was no work for them with demand so low. 

"We usually have like three to four people working but it's just me right now so can't really afford to give staff many hours." 

For lease and closed signs also littered the usually bustling suburb.

For some businesses it was not even worth opening their doors in lockdown. Others had already lost the battle to Covid-19.