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Move To Alert Level 2 Shows "high Level Of Trust"

The move to Alert Level 2 has been welcomed by the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, with Chief Executive Leeann Watson saying enabling more businesses to open and increasing production capacity is crucial given the impact the last six week has had on our economy.

"Moving to Alert Level 2 is absolutely critical for our business community, so we welcome today’s announcement of the timing of this transition. This demonstrates the high level of trust from central Government that businesses will continue to adhere to public health guidelines, while also balancing their need to generate revenue.

"We are confident that businesses will adhere to guidelines to ensure the best public health outcomes, with businesses well-prepared to manage their Level 2 responsibilities to staff and customers."

This afternoon, the Prime Minister announced that most New Zealand businesses will be able to open on Thursday 14 May, with the exception of bars which cannot open until 21 May. Retail, malls, restaurants and those operating in the beauty industry - many of whom have not been able to operate under Alert Level 3 - will now be able to open on Thursday 14 May with social distancing and strict hygiene protocols in place.

Ms Watson says this will be welcomed by those businesses, many of whom have not had any income in the last six weeks.

"We are seeing an increase in requests for assistance around restructuring, redundancy and resizing and know that there is only so long businesses can hang on for, given the significant financial impact we are seeing across our business community.

"Uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges and frustrations for business right now. Businesses need clarity around what is expected of them at Alert Level 2 and Alert Level 1 so they can channel their energy into getting operational - not navigating red tape.

"We know that for some businesses, particularly small business, the cost of operation has significantly increased due to the operating conditions so the more information they have on the length of time we are likely to be under the various alert levels, the better informed they are and can make the right decisions for them to increase their chance of survival."

Ms Watson says that today’s announcement needs to pave the way for a business-centric Budget on Thursday.

"We hope to see a sector-approach to further targeted business support this week as part of the Budget announcement recognising that for some sectors there is still a very, very long way to go before they are contemplating opening and for those that can, it will be many months before they are back to full capacity. It will also be important that the Government moves from directly supporting business to providing the business-enabling legislative and economic framework for growth."

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