So we’re on Level 1

We’re now on Covid Alert Level 1 for the first time – we skipped it when we went up the levels in April, from 2 to 3 to 4.

This means that apart from international travel we are more or less back to normal. Social distancing is still encouraged but not required.

There is no limit to social gatherings. This means that sports and music events can resume.

Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off in Dunedin (Chiefs versus Highlanders) on Saturday with tickets on sale to the public.  This may receive international coverage as sport world wide has been largely been put on hold due too the Covid pandemic.

The biggest risk now is people bringing Covid into the country. Incoming travellers will still go into 14 day quarantine and will now be tested twice – testing them should always have been a priority.

Reopening of international borders, even with Australia, seems a while away yet.

Hand washing and sanitising is still encouraged. This may have wider benefits unless there are unintended consequences.

Social distancing won’t make much difference generally as the public has most ignored it over the last couple of weeks under Level 2. But it does mean cafes and restaurants and bars can get back to operating as normal.

One thing that should change is the attitude to working and socialising while sick. Codral has revamped it’s winter advertising, which was necessary because ‘soldier on’ is the opposite of what is recommended by the Ministry of Health.

There is another contradiction – some people (including Minister of Finance Grant Robertson) are encouraging people who remain working at home to go back to their offices because centre city cafes and restaurants are suffering, but others want working from home to continue to reduce traffic and CBD congestion.

Business closures and job losses continue. Some of this is directly due to the Covid lockdowns, especially airlines and anyone involved in tourism, as well as a lot of hospitality.

Having to shut down or scale back will have been nail in the coffin for businesses that were already marginal. Some won’t reopen, some will struggle more and there will be inevitable business failures.

But it is obvious that some job losses and business and shop closures have used Covid as an excuse, or have just brought forward the timing of closures.

Yesterday The Warehouse announced the closure of shops and the loss of over a thousand jobs. In normal times this would be big news, but it can be shrugged off as ‘covid’. However the Warehouse admits these moves were on the cards anyway as they looked to change their business model.

The lockdown prompted a lot of businesses to move more towards online sales. Some of this move will continue, and will affect shops and jobs.

The extent of the after effects of the lockdown are difficult to predict, except that they are likely to be substantial. World wide trade and economies have been seriously affected and at more risk than usual – a recession was already overdue and predicted even before Covid struck.

There could be a crunch yet too come. The three month wage subsidy will run out soon. Many businesses will bebe able to take advantage of a further 8 weeks of wage subsidy, but will no doubt be reviewing their futures after that. There will be more jobs down the gurgler.

Some of us can sort of get back to normal but the covid cloud still hovers over us, and the effects have already been substantial and will be ongoing.

 

 

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13 Comments

    • Gezza

       /  9th June 2020

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  1. Duker

     /  9th June 2020

    So much for the Warehouse wanting to close the Dunedin centre store ( they have another not far away in South Dunedin)
    What one declining retailers doesnt want another up and coming one is keen to get
    “Kmart makes move on central Dunedin site Warehouse plans to vacate”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12338219

    And the job losses from that store?
    ‘The Dunedin city store employs 14 fulltime, 17 part-time and 11 casual staff.
    A tiny number by any measure

    Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  9th June 2020

    It’s all now a waiting game to see
    1. Where & how more Covid-19 cases turn up
    2. How soon we know the true impact of the Level 4 & 3 lockdowns in terms of job losses & the resumption of business & economic activity.

    My feeling has been that there will be a lot more online trading (& courier work & jobs) as companies geared themselves up for it & many will no doubt figure it is a more profitable way to trade.

    Government Departments should have no trouble ordering their staff back to their workplaces & I expect the same will be true of many company head offices.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether many other smaller businesses have found it easier to have their staff work from home & look to downsize their offices & rents etc.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th June 2020

      2/3 of those job cuts are part timers and casuals based on the numbers at Dunedin store
      time for a detailed audit of the job subsidy payments that went to WH, and they werent claiming for casuals who hardly ever paid that subsidy amount anyway, I suppose they had zero hours contracts

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  9th June 2020

      According to the CEO of the Warehouse, when interviewed on talkback, said a major reason for closing stores ( mooted even before Lockdown) was the collective union agreement workers had. That stifled flexibility and the choice of restructuring certain stores.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  9th June 2020

        You mean he wanted zero hour contracts for all staff except 1 or 2 in store management.

        The real reasons are many stores are wrong location in Auckland and other small towns which are ‘dying’ economically.
        As well Kmart is eating their lunch with better offering and lower permanent prices …and opening more new stores not closing them. Indeed they want the Dunedin site WH doesnt, who will keep it empty for 2 years till the lease ends rather than let Kmart in now.

        Reply
    • The last time I was in a KMart, there were quite a few empty shelves, which was annoying.

      Dear Leader kills businesses and then abuses them for dying, she is looking more and more like a control freak.

      Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th June 2020

    Updated my model data to 6 June and ran a last parameter fit for these results:

    Spreadsheet is here:
    https://1drv.ms/x/s!AuhKWHlH5hzQhN507FQv1VbLRzs3mw?e=N8gdtI

    Reply
  4. oldlaker

     /  9th June 2020

    So, Alan, was the number of infections falling off before the lockdown could take effect (given the incubation period of up to 14 days)?

    Reply

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