Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Lockdown extension another blow for Auckland businesses

While Auckland's time in level 4 has been extended for another week, business owners are feeling the pressure.

Auckland will remain at level 4 for another week, until 11.59pm on Tuesday September 21. Cabinet has made an in-principle decision that Auckland will move to level 3 at that time.

'Devastating news'

Retail NZ Chief Executive, Greg Harford said it the extension may be a "fatal blow" for some business owners.

"While it is important for the Government to manage the current health crisis, the extension to the lockdown is hugely difficult for businesses, and may be a fatal blow for some," he said.

Greg Harford is the chief executive for Retail NZ . Photo / Mark Mitchelll

"While the Government has provided some support via the wage subsidy and the resurgence support payment, the reality is that this support is limited and will not be enough to stop businesses going to the wall."

Harford said now is the time for the Government to step up with additional support to help cover the costs which come with running a business.

"It's more important than ever that the Government steps up with additional support to help cover the fixed costs of running a business, including rents and utilities, as well as wages.

Non- essential businesses in Tāmaki Makaurau have now been closed for nearly four weeks.

'Inevitable but not desirable'

The Restaurant Association has called the extension "inevitable but not desirable".

Chief executive Marisa Bidois said the "financial drain is taking its toll on business owners and their employees".

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois. Photo / Supplied

"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.

Level 2 will remain for those outside Auckland for another week, and Cabinet will review these settings on Monday next week.

'Many businesses will go to the wall'

The decision to extend level 4 lockdown in Auckland and level two restrictions elsewhere in the country without additional urgent support will be the end of many businesses, said National's economic development and small business spokesman Todd McClay.

""The number of business casualties expected in the coming weeks will grow significantly unless the Government does more to protect struggling companies from Covid restrictions."

McClay said while the rest of the country is in level 2, small businesses are struggling to remain viable under the new, more restrictive level 2 rules.

People out and about in Christchurch on a sunny level 2 day. Photo / George Heard

"It's one thing for the Government to take a cautious approach to the Delta outbreak but it must be backed up with an equally ambitious approach to stopping business failure," he said.

"As Kiwis in Auckland do what the Government asks of them for the fifth week and isolate at home, they need to know that the Government understands how traumatic the lockdown is for their businesses and that they are committed to getting them through.

"The lack of additional targeted support suggests the Government is okay with the fact that many businesses will go to the wall and that Kiwis will lose their livelihoods," McClay said.

'We've come this far, let's finish the job'

Auckland mayor Phil Goff is asking Aucklanders to stick to the rules and "finish the job".

"Another week in lockdown will be really tough for our communities and for businesses, but it is absolutely necessary if we are to once again beat the virus and return to life with fewer restrictions," he said.

Goff said those who are yet to get vaccinated as soon as possible as it will reduce the chance of lockdowns and help protect everyone.

"If we all keep working together we can once again eliminate covid-19 and rejoin the rest of New Zealand at a lower level of restrictions."

The Mental Health Foundation is encouraging all New Zealanders, especially Aucklanders, to take some time every day that's just for themselves.

Take some 'meh time' and turn it into 'me time'

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said they have noticed this lockdown has been a lot harder on people.

"We're hearing it from essential workers who aren't getting the same levels of thanks and kindness they were in previous lockdowns from people who are really struggling in their bubbles alone and from people who are in bubbles with others but are still finding lockdown is incredibly hard," Robinson said.

Robinson said it is important for people to take some "meh time" and turn it into "me time".

"Most importantly at the moment, it increases our resilience and our sense of empathy for others, two things which are going to help us get through this really hard time and come out the other side," Robinson said.

Today, 33 new community cases were recorded, only one of those is still to be epidemiologically linked. All are in Auckland.

The Mental Health Foundation is asking Kiwis to take that "meh time" and turn it into "me time". Photo / Michael Craig

There are eight epidemiologically linked subclusters - the two largest subclusters are the Māngere church group (381) and the Birkdale social network cluster (76).

Nine subclusters are not epidemiologically linked.

There are 21 people with Covid in hospital with four in ICU.

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