The Government needs to provide urgent additional support and clarification to industries on the front lines of the Covid-19 restrictions, such as hospitality, National’s Economic Development and Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“The detail around what will be allowed at Covid-19 Alert Level 2 allows companies to start to plan to reopen, however it remains very restrictive on business, especially hospitality businesses. For instance, the single table server requirement for bars, restaurants and cafes is likely to be unworkable for many adding significant cost without obvious equal benefit.
“The hospitality industry estimates it has been losing $40 million every day for the last seven weeks. That is a staggering cost borne by the businesses who have shut down in the national interest.
“Hospitality New Zealand has estimated that without urgent additional support as many as 20 per cent of hospitality businesses may never reopen. With the unworkable Level 2 restrictions this number is likely to be higher. This would affect thousands of jobs.
“These aren’t just statistics, every job lost represents a family that will now be under enormous stress to pay the bills and put food on the table.
“The Level 2 restrictions may alleviate some of the burden, but restrictions on customer numbers and business operations will mean that business remains limited.
“The wage subsidy has supported New Zealanders during lockdown however businesses are now looking to the future and have had mounting costs pile up over the last two months.
“National’s GST cash rebate scheme would get cash flowing to the thousands of small businesses that were forced to close and left to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the economic burden.
“The sector needs common-sense rules under which it’s possible to operate profitably and access more cash, such as through National’s GST rebate scheme. Now is not the time to wait until the Budget for a good press release. Jobs and livelihoods are at stake.”