23 Oct 2021

Businesses uncertain about traffic light Covid-19 framework: 'Everyone's waiting with bated breath'

5:46 pm on 23 October 2021

Businesses organisations are waiting to hear what the traffic light Covid-19 framework means for reopening the international border to visitors from around the world.

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Wellington in lockdown (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope said the traffic light framework provided more certainty for businesses planning to trade out of lockdown.

But there was no certainty about the international border during yesterday's announcement.

"I'm pretty sure everyone's waiting with bated breath," he said.

"I guess once you've got a 90 percent vaccinated population that allows you a lot more choices at the border, and I would expect to hear a few more announcements from the government in the coming weeks around how they will look to escalate and accelerate reconnecting New Zealand to the world."

The Hotel Council Aotearoa (HCA) is also urging the government to catch up on border settings.

Strategic director James Doolan said a path to reopening was critical.

"The current border settings are simply out-of-date now in the new, traffic-lights world. We should be getting vaccinated Kiwis home for Christmas and making real progress on safe reopening of our borders to international tourists once again," he said.

"Now that we have the traffic light system designed to open us up domestically, it is not enough to talk vaguely about potential reopening of borders next year."

Doolan said with the border restricted, the tourism sector had massive problems that justified ongoing targeted support.

Both organisations said the traffic light Covid-19 framework provided much-needed clarity on moving beyond lockdowns and enabling the reopening of the economy.

"Small business owners particularly have had to perhaps remortgage their properties and do all sorts of other things to be able to finance this so it's really important that there was some additional support and that we can get out of alert level three as quickly as possible," Hope said.

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