Wellington, Aug 27 (SocialNews.XYZ) A new survey released on Friday revealed that over half of New Zealand businesses will be seeking government support due to the nationwide level four Covid-19 lockdown, with calls for a further vaccine ramp up.
The lockdown was imposed on August 17 after the first Delta variant case in the Auckland community was identified, reports Xinhua news agency.
Under the Alert Level 4 lockdown, the highest setting, businesses and schools are closed except for essential ones such as supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations.
"The consistent message we have received, from both this survey and the hundreds of phone calls we're had, is that the only way out of Delta and get back to the new normal is through vaccination ramp up. It's key to re-opening New Zealand to the world, and it's key for all Kiwis to get back to work and life," said Simon Arcus, Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Business Central Chief Executive, who conducted the survey.
While the alert level change to four caught some by surprise, the survey shows most businesses had plans in place in preparation.
"We asked how businesses were operating under Level 4 conditions. It's no surprise that it's a story of two halves, of those businesses that are essential, providing some essential products, or that can operate from home and those public-facing businesses that can't operate at all.
"Just 12 per cent have said they are functioning at full capacity, over a quarter (26 pe rcent) are closed, and just over a third (35 per cent) operating at less than half of their usual capacity.
"With the alert level change decision ahead later today - we asked what the impact would be of moving to level three. Those that anticipate they can operate at full capacity or just slightly under jumps to 60 per cent, with only 8 per cent anticipating they will still be closed, and just over a third (30 per cent) operating at less than half of their usual capacity.
"With over half of businesses, (55 per cent) say they have already or are intending to, apply for the government support packages, it would be preferable to have a short alert level four, and a move to alert level three with rigorous health measures. Another 9 per cent say they will apply for government assistance, should the lockdown continue beyond Friday's deadline," Arcus said.
Overall, businesses support the government's call so far, but businesses are looking at what the long-term plan is, so the country can avoid lockdowns as the only way to limiting virus transmission.
In addition, much of the open comment feedback stressed the need to rapidly vaccinate Kiwis, according to Arcus.
"So it is encouraging to see the big uptick in vaccinations over the past few days as well as the number of bookings. These numbers must be sustained, and indeed increase over the coming weeks," he said.