Alter Level 1 coming but too late for many

May 25, 2020

The EMA is disappointed with the Government announcement today that the country will not move to Alert Level 1 until at least Monday, June 22, saying every day at the moment counts, particularly for struggling SMEs.

Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says while measures like the temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due to COVID-19 is welcomed, the focus needs to be on keeping people in their jobs in the first place.

“With the success the country has had in relation to the number of cases – which has continued to drop through Alert Level 2 as expected – we don’t see any justification why the country can’t go to Alert Level 1 this Tuesday, June 2.

“The Government is rightly proud of how going hard and going early paid off in terms of controlling COVID-19, but we should be seeing the same approach to kick-starting the economy,” he says.

“We were hoping that today employers and employees would be given some hope and confidence in their recovery, by being able to largely get back to business is usual within the health guidelines,” he says.

Everyone understands very clearly that systems, processes and workplace environments for some have been forever changed, and businesses and the community have tackled that admirably.

“That’s not the issue. The issue is that at this moment so many businesses have nothing left in the tank, and by then they won’t have any wage subsidy left either, to they just won’t be able to regenerate.”

“Is it fear of a second wave, is that we can’t do it until the contact tracing card is in play, or what is the justification for the enormous cost of letting yet more of the cornerstone of our economy – our SMEs – go to the wall?”

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