Queenstown will be 'closed by Friday' due to isolation requirements, says Chamber of Commerce boss Ruth Stokes

There are currently 21 hospitality locations of interest.
There are currently 21 hospitality locations of interest. Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand's iconic tourist destination Queenstown will be closed by the end of the week according to the district's Chamber of Commerce boss, Ruth Stokes.

As the Omicron outbreak of COVID-19 surges and the Government moves to phase two of the management plan, Stokes says isolation rules will force businesses to close their doors.

"If you're isolating for seven days, or you're isolating for 10 days, if you're closed you're closed, and these are businesses that are on the brink," she told RNZ.

As of Monday, 21 hospitality businesses in Queenstown had been named as locations of interest, forcing their staff into isolation.

In phase two, the self-isolation period for positive COVID-19 cases is lowered from 14 days to 10. For close contacts, the isolation period is seven days, a drop from 10 under phase one.

There are currently 51 COVID-19 cases listed as active in the Southern DHB area by the Ministry of Health.

Stokes said business closures were up 20 percent in 2021, and 70 percent of those closed in the second half of the year. And she predicts it's going to get worse.

"We're hearing anecdotally from our lawyers and accountants that insolvencies are going through the roof. This is just too tough and there is no financial support," Stokes said.

"These are businesses that have been around for years, that have contributed millions of dollars to our economy and employ a lot of people.

"If there are no businesses, if they can't go back to work, they will leave us and we all know how tight our labour market is.

"We need a combination of consistency and messaging. We need to be clear about what the requirements are and that shouldn't be subject to who it is that you're talking to on the end of the phone."