Viv Beck, Managing Director of the Heart of the City Group of Companies. Photo / Alex Burton
The retail and hospitality sector within Auckland’s CBD has lost around $ 770 million in consumer spending since February 2020, according to the Heart of the City trade association.
CEO Viv Beck said this works out to an average of $ 570,000 per company, with around $ 300 million lost to the hospitality industry and $ 330 million to the retail industry compared to 2019.
“Covid has dealt a heavy blow to the city center, and while it is not just a city center issue, there is a disproportionate impact and there is a lot to lose.”
Auckland has been in strict containment since 11:59 p.m. on August 17 and will be at level 4 at least until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, when the government reached an agreement in principle to move to level 3.
But Beck said that even if Auckland lowered levels next week, Level 3 and Delta 2’s tighter restrictions could make many industries unviable, including hospitality, events and the arts.
The government opened a third round of wage subsidies to support job retention and last week announced a second round of resurgence support payments for companies that meet the eligibility criteria.
The resurgence assistance payment can be used by businesses to help pay their fixed costs while the wage subsidy should be passed on to employees.
Beck welcomed the second round of resurgence support payments, but said additional financial support was needed.
“While the new round of resurgence payments are welcome, the months ahead for many businesses will be untenable if additional financial support is not put in place.
“Also, if there is no investment now and businesses are left to fail, the recovery will take longer and we risk having many more people dependent on government downstream,” Beck said.
Heart of the City has asked the Treasury to examine a program that could provide a practical, inexpensive and easy to repay “overdraft facility” large enough to get a business through the pandemic, similar to a student loan, a she declared. .
Businesses can already apply to the Inland Revenue for the Small Business Cash Loan Program which gives them access to $ 10,000 plus $ 1,800 per full-time equivalent employee.
Loans are interest free if they are repaid within two years of the loan, and borrowers have up to five years to repay the loan.
Beck said he would also like government and council staff to lead the way and get back to work as soon as possible safely.
“Getting people back to the city center is essential and it would be a strong demonstration of support for our businesses. “
Beck said that despite the challenges ahead, she is confident in the future of the downtown area.
“Investor confidence is high, with a range of both commercial and residential developments underway, and a number of new companies are choosing to locate here.
“But we need to accelerate further work to address the immediate challenges now,” she added.
She said there were many initiatives underway to bring businesses downtown, including events such as the Restaurant Month extension during the summer.
“This includes outdoor dining expansions, an empty rental program, an incentive to improve access to the city center and get people to return to public transport when it is safe to do so, as well as to fight crime and anti-social behavior. “
Paste this code in Zen where you want it to appear: