COVID-19 alert level 3 a 'devastating blow' for Auckland hospitality and retail businesses - leaders

Hospitality and retail businesses were still struggling from the impacts of lockdown.
Hospitality and retail businesses were still struggling from the impacts of lockdown. Photo credit: Getty.

As Auckland heads into COVID-19 alert level 3, hospitality and retail industry leaders say businesses are bracing themselves for a challenging time ahead. 

Following level 4 lockdown in March, many businesses were still struggling. Ongoing border closures meaning no overseas tourists caused a decrease in hospitality revenue. 

"This is a devastating blow for the hospitality's a huge revenue loss, not to mention the cost of the food waste," Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said.

Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said three days at alert level 3 will cost Auckland retailers hundreds of millions of dollars and will likely have a chilling effect on businesses across the rest of New Zealand as well. 

Rising consumer uncertainty wasn't helpful for retail spending. For many retailers, Harford expects operating under alert level 3 to be more challenging than last time.

"Although [currently] it’s for a shorter period, businesses are much more fragile than previously as they have been struggling to recover from the crisis," he added.

There are ways businesses can still trade though. 

Bidois said hospitality businesses offering takeaway services should ensure online ordering processes are updated, and organise delivery drivers and pick-up points. 

They should check they can manage safe distancing at pick up points and for contactless delivery.

"Track and trace of any kitchen staff as well as increased health and safety measures such as masks, gloves and social distancing in kitchens should also be considered," Bidois said.

Retailers can continue to sell goods online and offer contactless click and collect services.

"Key issues for business are to maintain good hygiene in-store, especially handwashing and disinfecting of high-touch services, and to maintain social distancing wherever practical," Harford said.

Customers are urged #shopnormal and use the official Contact Tracer App QR code wherever possible when using takeaway or click and collect services.

Although businesses outside of Auckland are operating under alert level 2, they should be aware of in-store social distancing requirements and maintain good hygiene practices.