The survival of businesses and people’s livelihoods needs to now be the focus for New Zealand, says the EMA.
“Only moving into Alert Level 2 as soon as possible will provide the injection that is needed to truly start the recovery and get as many people working as possible and money flowing. We have been bold around containing COVID-19, let’s show the same determination to get people working again,” says EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley.
“The number of businesses seeking assistance with planning for survival beyond current COVID-19 restrictions underpins the need for Government to make a quick and decisive call to introduce Alert Level 2 operations from early next week.”
The EMA-hosted business assistance line received nearly 1,000 calls in the past week with around 50 per cent of those calls seeking advice on how to keep businesses running and position them to take advantage when COVID-19 restrictions are finally lifted.
“Comments about a managed or staged step from Alert Level 3 to 2 or even a version of Level 2.5 being introduced is confusing at a time when business really needs clarity. Why announce Level 2 guidelines only to muddy those guidelines by talking about a version 2.5 that no-one knows anything about? That’s unhelpful,” says Mr O’Riley.
“Businesses have demonstrated they understand health and safety and have worked hard to implement the guidelines around Alert Level 3, and are poised to do the same for Level 2. Where there are any deficiencies these have been quickly identified and remedied, businesses are desperate to be able to keep operating.”
“Government needs to trust businesses to operate responsibly under Alert Level 2, as they have largely done under Levels 4 and 3. Delays because the health authorities haven’t sorted their track and trace system or a half step between Levels 3 and 2 will just create resentment and confusion in the community and probably lead to more widespread breaches of guidelines as businesses and the communities around them vent their frustrations.”
The EMA’s AdviceLine number is 0800 300 362, and its dedicated site covid19.ema.co.nz.
About the EMA:
The EMA is New Zealand’s largest business service organisation dedicated to helping people and businesses grow. It offers advice, learning, advocacy and support for more than 7000 businesses as members of the EMA, ExportNZ and The Manufacturers Network. The EMA is part of the BusinessNZ network and its territory spans the upper North Island. The EMA also offers many of its services nationally to member businesses, and through its partners. www.ema.co.nz.