The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Hospitality industry “disappointed” at lack of targeted COVID-19 support

Following the announcement of the extension of the wage subsidy scheme this week, Hospitality New Zealand says it is disappointing that it fails to recognise how critically the hospitality sector has been affected.

While workers in the hospitality industry are eligible to apply for the new subsidy, there is no targeted support or additional funding released from its $14 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery relief fund.  

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Julie White, says the Government needs to do more.

“In our sector, Level 3 is the equivalent of closing down for many operators and sadly, we will lose several of our small businesses,” she says.

Julie White

“The scheme in its current form is too narrow and doesn’t account for the cost of shutting down operations or pivoting to ensure they can explore ancillary revenue streams.”

White says that while the association supports the actions of the Government to stop the spread, it will significantly impact the path many were on towards finding a ‘new normal’.

“We appreciate that access to the wage subsidy has been nationwide, as it does address some of the knock-on effects of locking down our most populous city,” she says.

“We had just seen a glimmer of hope and we’re finding our feet again, but the impact of this second wave has been detrimental to some.”

White says hospitality urgently needs targeted sector support.

“The hospitality industry is one of the main cogs in the economic engine room supporting New Zealand,” she says.

“It circulates dollars quickly, keeps people in employment and provides places to connect and assists with Kiwis’ wellbeing and social interactions.”

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