Today’s announcement that we will move to Alert Level 1 tonight has been welcomed by the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, with Chief Executive Leeann Watson saying the move is key in enabling Canterbury businesses to begin a return to full operating and revenue-generating capacity.
This afternoon, the Prime Minister announced that the country will transition to Alert Level 1 at 11.59pm tonight. Details of what Alert Level 1 would look like were announced last Friday, which included continued good hygiene practices, the need to retain strict border controls and continued contact tracing. However, all current restrictions on businesses will essentially be lifted, with no requirement for social distancing.
Ms Watson says the announcement of a move to Alert Level 1 will be a relief for many businesses.
“The move to Alert Level 1 will enable more businesses to return to full operations and increase their revenue without having to operate with the social distancing restrictions in place, which businesses have fully supported, but this has certainly had a big impact on their ability to operate at full capacity.
“This will make a significant difference to some of the key sectors that really drive our economy, such as manufacturing which will be able to return to full production lines; construction which will enable more workers on-site; hospitality that will be able to return to normal service operations and offering; and retail which will not be restricted by customer numbers in-store.
“Today’s announcement also sends a strong message to the public providing the confidence and assurance that we can all get out and do our bit to support local.”
Ms Watson says we all have a part to play to support local businesses, which will be crucial in cushioning the region’s economic impact of COVID-19 long-term.
“To date, we have seen a collective, community public health response to COVID-19, but now is the time to promote the good health of our local business community and protect the livelihoods of those same people.
“We can do this by buying local as well as advocating for local and central Government procurement of New Zealand made products and services. We would also like to see those still working remotely to return to their offices – particularly in the central city – to support local retailers and our cafés, bars and restaurants.
“We have been advocating for a transition to Alert Level 1 as soon as health conditions will allow, so today’s announcement also acknowledges the Government’s confidence in the business community to continue to adhere to guidelines around continued hygiene measures and contact-tracing.”