24 Jan 2022

Plea for more government support for businesses worst-hit by Omicron

4:06 pm on 24 January 2022

The government is being urged to explore a targeted wage subsidy and labour support for tourism and hospitality businesses as the Covid-19 restrictions are tightened up.

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Photo: 123RF

The move to the red traffic light setting means hospitality venues using vaccine passes are limited to 100 people, based on one-metre distancing.

Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said tourism and hospitality businesses were not only going to be hurt by revenue losses, but also staff shortages due to isolation rules.

"The environment keeps changing, the uncertainty is ongoing so that is why we need to make sure that the government continues to explore those opportunities and those options available for those sectors that continue to be most impacted.

"It's really important that when we get through this and we do open our borders up, that we've actually got good tourism operations available and that they're still there."

Ongoing labour shortages have also meant businesses are not readily able to fill gaps when needed, Watson said.

"If we're going to see a huge number of people who have to isolate because of symptoms and for a longer period because of time, then businesses need to make sure that they've got that support to bring other people in.

"Now of course that said, one of the other big challenges is for businesses - probably the biggest issue right now - is access to skilled and unskilled labour," Watson said.

She said the immigration settings meant there was a real shortage of people in New Zealand.

Watson said if the government wanted businesses to survive, it should look into long term support.

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