South Auckland businesses struggle with lockdown extension: 'People are worried about their futures'

7:03 pm on 13 September 2021

The extended alert level 4 lockdown will be a struggle for many South Auckland businesses which have been hit hard by Covid-19, according to Business Manukau's Stephen Grey.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday announced the Auckland region would remain in alert level 4 for at least another week.

Grey, who is also a partner in Chester Grey Chartered Accountants, said the alert level 4 lockdown had been hard for many of his clients.

"A lot of people are worried about their futures," he said.

"For many of them it's been tougher this time. There's a lot of fatigue out there and a lot of them are getting to the point where they are over it, even though they know it's the right thing to do."

Some of his clients in the hospitality industry were still recovering from the last lockdown, and the extension could put some of them out of business, he said.

"For those people it's going to be really tough, even under alert level 3. So the quicker we get out of this the better."

Business Manukau chairman Aaron Jones agreed the extension would be hard for many local businesses to take.

"It's going to be tough for our members. But I would rather stay at alert level 4 for another week, than go down too early," Jones said.

"We've already been under lockdown for four weeks now, but people can see light at the end of the tunnel."

After the previous Covid-19 lockdowns, many businesses already had plans in place to deal with such events, he said.

"It was a case of not if, but when there would be another lockdown," Jones said.

"I think a lot of businesses were better prepared this time around."

Many of the association's members were in retail, and they would be ready to open for click and collect under alert level 3.

But Jones said not all businesses would be able to adapt as easily and some cafes and restaurants in South Auckland might struggle.

Those businesses, which relied heavily on good foot traffic, would have to decide whether or not it was worth reopening.

"There won't be the same numbers of people going into town centres like Manukau," he said.

"I think the new normal is going to take a while to settle in."

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said the extra week in alert level 4 would take its toll on businesses.

"With no assurance of a wage subsidy extension into level 2 for Auckland-based businesses and severely restricted trading even when we do arrive there, our businesses are having to make extremely difficult decisions to hang on for another week," she said.

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