New Zealand restaurants are losing about $6 million a week because of the impact of the coronavirus, the Restaurant Association says.
“We are fielding a number of calls from business owners in desperate situations, asking for advice as they face temporary closure,” Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said.
She said it had been estimated that the tourism industry as a whole was losing $50m each week.
Restaurants’ losses came from the sudden drop in tourism as well as Kiwis staying home out of fear.
Kiwibank’s chief economist is calling for swift and decisive action from the government and Reserve Bank to support multiple industries choked off by the spread of Covid-19. …
A survey of association members showed some were dealing with a drop in business of up to 60 per cent, Bidois said.
She said the Government should offer the industry “immediate fiscal relief”. “Thousands of jobs are at risk, and many communities can’t afford this.”
She said hospitality contributed $11 billion a year to the economy.
But there has been no response from the Government to address the issues.
The association was offering hospitality businesses impacted by Covid-19 free emergency membership, which gave them immediate access to a range of legal, payroll and marketing advice, as well as on-the-ground support.
A recent poll of 1900 New Zealanders conducted by Utting Research on Sunday and Monday found 37 per cent were confident that quarantine and border systems would prevent a large-scale outbreak, while 47 per cent were not confident.
A sizeable majority (55 per cent) wanted travel bans on all passengers from countries where the virus had caused death, which would mean a travel ban on Australia, the US, France, Thailand, Italy, South Korea and Japan, alongside the existing bans on travel from Iran and China.
Any such ban would devastate the already struggling tourism industry. According to visitor arrival statistics for December, more than 6000 Australian residents arrive in New Zealand every day.
“Add to this the strain from many city centre members affected by infrastructure upgrades, environmental issues, including drought and other weather conditions, and the industry is facing a level of unprecedented challenges,” Bidois said.
The restaurant industry is one of several feeling the impact of the coronavirus.
A number of forestry workers have had to stop work in the face of plummeting demand and off-loading issues at Chinese ports.
Tourism numbers have plummeted, with industry bosses fearing significant job losses.
Air New Zealand has cut fares to try address softening demand as a result of coronavirus, offering $9 seats for domestic flights.