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The cost of the three-day snap lockdown has a longer and brutal sting in its tail for already hard hit small and medium businesses who need urgent help to keep their heads above water, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.

“These SMEs are doing what is right, retaining staff and following the rules to keep the country safe, but they are wearing tens of thousands of dollars of costs every day without adequate turnover. Government needs to recognise the pain and must respond. If Auckland does not revert to Level 1 or 1.5 today then the resurgence package must be activated immediately to bring relief to SMEs,” he said.

“Bigger business will weather Level 3 okay but for many of our retailers, entertainment and hospitality outlets, event organisers, service industries and sole traders three days may as well be a week by the time they have reverted to contactless trading, adapted their offer and anticipate the rules for a change in alert levels. The fallout goes way beyond the Golden Mile, the mall and venues and shops around the country, all needing people to have confidence to be out and about as they were just a week ago.”

Mr Barnett said the Government and its health advisors need to be looking at using the science and tools available to not only shutdown quickly but open up quickly and identify a range of proactive and reactive responses to suit particular situations so lives and business can return to normal.

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