Yesterday the Government provided some more clarity on what a shift to Alert Level 3 will look like for our business community. We are still waiting to hear on Monday whether the country will be moving down to Alert Level 3 at midnight on Wednesday, April 22 or if the lockdown will be extended.
This morning Finance Minister Grant Robertson indicated that when we do shift to Alert Level 3 it would last for at least two weeks.
It’s good that we now have more detail on what Level 3 will look like. This will help businesses who are able to start operating again to prepare so they can hit the ground running when the alert levels are dropped.
The key message from PM Jacinda Ardern was that under Level 3 ‘Safe Businesses’ will also be able to operate along with ‘Essential Businesses’.
If people can work from home, they should continue to do so.
If they NEED to return to work, the workplace will need to apply clear and documented Health and Safety practices – more information on what will be required for specific sectors will be available in the coming days.
Businesses that are only accessed by the staff, and aren’t customer facing, such as those in building and construction or forestry, will be able to operate again under strict health and safety and physical distancing rules.
According to the PM, businesses that are accessed by the public or customers such as retail, hardware stores and restaurants will be able to operate but only for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery or click and collect.
This may require some innovation from businesses to continue operating. Already we are seeing some of our cafes and restaurants looking into utilising apps and other innovative systems to allow them to operate in a contactless manner.
We urge Coasters to support our local businesses that are going online and starting to operate in a click and collect manner. Order locally rather than from off the Coast if you can help it.
Under Level 3, businesses cannot offer services which involve face-to-face contact or sustained close contact (e.g. hairdressing, massages, house cleaning, etc).
While it is great news that under Level 3 more businesses will be able to operate again in some capacity, we still recognise how difficult this is for those who have longer to wait before they can get working again.
Again, we encourage any business going through this crisis to reach out for assistance. At DWC, we are here to help you.
Media Release: 17 April 2020
This morning the Government announced a range of new support measures for small and medium sized businesses, including a $3.1b tax relief package.
With many local businesses looking down the barrel of a loss this year, the proposed ‘tax loss carry-back scheme’ would allow businesses to access their previous tax payments as cash refunds.
This could make a significant difference for small businesses. Freeing up cashflow may help some of those that are currently vulnerable, but still viable, get through the current crisis.
The Government has also allocated $25m towards business consultancy support, part of which will go towards supporting businesses through the national Regional Business Partner Network (RBP).
As the West Coast partner for the RBP network, DWC is busy helping businesses access tailored specialist support related to things like business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, HR and staffing issues, and health and wellness.
Since the lockdown started, we have been working directly with over 240 local businesses to make sure they are accessing the different forms of support available. Our staff are still busy reaching out to help more businesses.
As we prepare to enter our fourth week in lockdown, we are also thinking ahead to what a recovery from the COVID-19 crisis might look like for the West Coast.
With border restrictions and controls likely to be in place for some time to come, the impact of COVID-19 could, in some respects, reshape our regional economy.
We are working closely with key stakeholders on a number of initiatives to help the West Coast economy prepare for its eventual rebound.
The Prime Minister has stated that we won’t be moving out of Alert Level 4 early. Cabinet will make its decision on 20 April on what the next steps will be.
A shift down to Alert Level 3 will still present significant restrictions though. On Thursday, the PM will provide more details on what this will look like for businesses.
Businesses should be using this time to prepare for a possible reopening under different scenarios. This could include looking at whether you can work with social distancing, can the Ministry of Health contact trace all your employees and customers and will you need any PPE.
The impact of the lockdown has caused significant issues for many in our business community. So now is also the time for businesses to make sure they are utilising all available support.
There are various forms of assistance available to help Coast businesses – whether through DWC itself, our partner organisations, the banks and the Government.
Thank-you to all who have contacted us, and we encourage you to continue reaching out for support and to keep us updated on your situation, so we can continue advocating for you.
Media Release: 15 April 2020
New employment portal.
An employment portal is being set up by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to help West Coast businesses and workers affected by COVID-19.
The establishment of the portal is one of several initiatives underway aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on local employment.
Through the portal, DWC will be working with MSD and other regional development agencies to facilitate getting available workers into much-needed employment once the COVID-19 lockdown is removed.
The employment portal will be up and running soon. In the meantime, any businesses that either need staff or have staff to redeploy please visit: https://worktheseasons.co.nz/
Business stories about facing adverse events.
Jenny Douché, author and Innovation Specialist at WellingtonNZ, is compiling a book on real life stories about facing adverse events in business – past and present.
This non-profit book will be available free to all businesses that want it – to support the business community during this challenging time.
Jenny is asking businesspeople to write their own stories and is looking for some West Coast stories for the book.
Click for more information.
Stories don’t have to be recent, they could be about any adverse event.
Write about your own experiences, about how the event impacted you, and the journey that you went on, including the good and the bad, and where you are now.
A good way to start is to just jot down ideas and thoughts, and don’t worry about formulating the structure of the story until later.
Write in first person, so use “I”.
- Share as much or as little about your business as you are comfortable with.
Other important information.
The ideal length of each story is 500-2,000 words and the deadline is April 30, 2020.
Your name can be included or excluded from your story, let us know your preference.
Avoid providing any advice to readers regarding their business, let them just reflect on your story.
Try not to write about other people in a way that might make them identifiable, unless you have their express permission to do so.
All stories will be edited and proofread, you will receive the final version to approve prior to printing.
Submit your story or have a chat:
P: 021 126 5555
PGF funding for employment scheme.
The West Coast will receive a $2.08 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment from the Te Ara Mahi allocation to get local people into local jobs.
The West Coast Regional Employment Scheme will be run by DWC with support from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).
The employment and training programme will be targeted at skill shortage areas across the Coast. It will fit West Coast businesses seeking to create new positions with specific training tailored to jobs, as well as the upskilling of existing employees to new positions.
The employment scheme will work with at least 90 people to train, upskill and support them into sustainable local employment for at least 18 months.
According to Provincial Development Unit Head Robert Pigou, “employment schemes like this will ensure a robust and resilient economy that can respond to and recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.”
DWC chief executive Heath Milne said the Government recognises the need for continued support for the region and the Provincial Development Unit has been instrumental in getting this project across the line.
The programme is based on a successful pilot project that was run in the Buller Region in 2016, which was jointly funded by DWC and MSD and delivered with the assistance of the Buller District Council.
More details about the West Coast Regional Employment Scheme will released at a later date.