Covid-19 update – Level 2 & Open for Business

It has been a couple of weeks since we sent you an update and a number of things have happened in that time, prime among the the announcement of the rules that will apply when we head into the Covid-19 Level 2 environment. All businesses will need to alter how they work and it’s important the changes are well thought through as these restrictions are likely to be with us in one form or another for many months to come.

Our offices will be open for business again when Level 2 restrictions come into place.

We are excited to be able to have everyone back at work, albeit with restrictions and changes to how we operate.

Because Sari has an autoimmune condition she won’t be back in the office for a few weeks yet but will still be working from home by email, mobile phone and Zoom video conferencing.

We are currently working on a Covid-19 plan for the office and the biggest impact on you will be when you visit our office, we will have social distancing rules in place you will need to observe. Because a lot of our communication with you is via phone and email our main focus is going to be on ensuring the safety of our staff when we do return.

Government announcements and support

The business environment for the foreseeable future is going to be quite different to what it was before Covid-19 raised its head, every business is going to face challenges and will have to review what it does and how it goes about its business.

The government has acknowledged there will be very challenging times ahead with much higher unemployment (especially from the hospitality and tourism sectors) and it appears to be offering assistance to SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises) that make up a huge proportion of businesses in this country.

Small businesses that provide services and products to local regions are going to be vital to New Zealand’s economic recovery as we will be less reliant on tourism until our international borders reopen, this could be a number of years away.

Along with various tax changes and the significant wage subsidy the government recently announced a loan scheme (https://media.ird.govt.nz/articles/government-boosts-cashflow-support-for-small-businesses/) for SME’s. This will be interest free for 12 months or low interest for up to five years with no repayments for the first two years if you take the low interest option. It will be administered through IRD and provides for loans of $10,000 per business plus $1800 per employee up to a maximum of $100,000.

This is in addition to various loan guarantee schemes put in place earlier with the banks.

Looking ahead

While we may appear to be over the very worst of the Covid-19 outbreak there is every possibility it could re-emerge as a significant health threat during the winter months so it is important we all do our bit to avoid having to go back into a Level 4 lockdown situation again.

So for the next two years let’s have local and New Zealand holidays and visit places you haven’t been before, you may be surprised at what New Zealand has to offer. And of course shop local, support those businesses that have supported our community for many years and help them stay in business so they can be part of our future too.

In the next week we will be sending an update on what you will need to do if you visit our offices.

Take care and continue to do your bit to keep everyone in our community safe.

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