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Lockdown extension "disappointing" - Canterbury Chamber

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says this afternoon’s announcement regarding the extension of Alert Level 4 to 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August is disappointing, however it is good to get confirmation that from next Wednesday, all of New Zealand south of the Auckland boundary will move to level 3.

"Many of the businesses we have been talking to had been hoping to move down a level today, so they can either operate tomorrow or put plans in place for Monday, as we know that at alert level 3, 90% of businesses will be able to operate and do so safely," says Ms Watson.

"We also know that in lockdown Treasury has forecast it to cost the country $1.45b per week - and that’s just the economic impact, not to mention the emotional toll on many people.

"While the Government absolutely has to weigh any decision-making with the impact on public health, the reality is that ongoing lockdowns cannot be part of our long-term future.

"We need to identify ways to operate safely and accelerate our vaccination programme, as it will be critical that we do everything we can to help businesses; to find a way for our exporting manufacturers to continue to trade on the global market, and to help our SMEs continue to keep trading.

"While the Delta variant poses new risks and requires a new way of thinking, we can still take the lessons we have learned over the past 12 months along with the improvements in technology and come up with a different plan.

"We appreciate the Government’s longer term signaling in today’s announcement which helps businesses plan in what continues to be an extremely challenging and uncertain environment, and will continue to work with Government to help advise and support businesses during this time."

A fully funded COVID-19 Business Helpline service is available for all businesses in Aotearoa New Zealand. In the South Island, the phone number is 0800 50 50 96.

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