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Level 4 Lock-down Could Be The Final Nail For Some Hospitality Businesses

Hospitality New Zealand says many hospitality businesses will not reopen following the four-week shut down announced by the Government today, as the country prepares to move to Alert Level 4 in the response to COVID-19.

The Government has announced New Zealand is now at Alert Level 3 and will move to Level 4 in 48 hours, forcing all non-essential businesses to close — including all bars, cafes, restaurants and casinos. Accommodation providers are considered essential services and will not be forced to close.

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive Julie White says operators appreciate the Government is continually adapting and responding to the unfolding COVID-19 situation, putting public safety first.

She said hospitality businesses welcomed the decision that was also announced today, to remove the $150,000 cap on wage subsidies. “The $150,000 cap was a significant disadvantage to larger hospitality businesses so we are relieved to see that cap lifted,” White said.

“However, the costs that hospitality businesses have already faced to implement measures to respond to COVID-19 over the past couple of weeks, and ongoing costs to their businesses during the four week closure, will mean that many will not recover and may never reopen.”

Hospitality New Zealand is working today to deliver information and resources to its 3000 members to help them prepare for and get through the required shut-down.

It will also continue to work with the Government to ensure hospitality businesses have the support that they need to survive and to recover, White said.

“We are already seeing thousands of job losses from hospitality businesses that have closed over the past couple of weeks. Further closures could lead to thousands more job losses in hospitality businesses — and supporting industries such as laundry services, baking, food distributors, tour companies, travel and transport. “

White said hospitality businesses would be a critical part of the country’s recovery, and they need the ongoing support of Government and New Zealanders.

“Our hospitality businesses are the fabric that connects our neighbourhoods and communities and an essential part of our tourism sector. They will be more important than ever in our recovery, and it’s vital that we can come together to keep them operating.”

The hospitality and tourism sectors collectively bring $40 billion per year into the New Zealand economy and employ more than 400,000 people.

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