The Gate Cromwell
The Gate, like other hospitality businesses, looking abandoned during Level 3 of lockdown. Photo Jan Hawkins

Glen Christiansen, General Manager of The Gate Ltd, supports the Hospitality New Zealand’s call that ‘many hospitality businesses will fail as a result of the present lockdown unless the government gives them targeted funding’.

He is particularly concerned for Cromwell area’s small business owners.

 The national group has written to Finance Minister Grant Robertson telling him this and pleading for help.

Chief Executive Julie Whyte says many hospitality and accommodation operators are at breaking point.

“They need help now.

They’re telling me this lockdown is hitting them harder than previous, and they won’t survive much longer without help.”

She adds that their ask is very simple,

“Extend the current resurgence support package to hospitality and accommodation operators, similar to the way the wage subsidy scheme works.”

Currently, government assistance provides a wage subsidy of $600 per full-time employee per week, with two weeks at a time being paid out.

Businesses can also apply for a Covid-19 Resurgence Payment of $1,500 per business plus a maximum of $400 per full-time employee.

This is obtained from IRD, for use re the operating costs.

Both subsidies require proof that revenue has gone down (by 30% and 40% respectively). Glen says that The Gate’s revenue, like most hospitality and accommodation providers in the Cromwell area, has gone down to 0%.

The 47 rooms are empty; beverage sales are zero; bottle store sales are minimal.

Many fixed costs remain.

However, it is the small ‘Mum and Dad’ accommodation businesses that he is most concerned about.  They do not have the long history, nor the backing, that The Gate enjoys.

“The thing is,” says Glen, “Even for those that survive, and even in Level 2, we can’t get the trading days back.  People’s image of Level 3 is that of long queues lined up at the drive-through KFCs and McDonalds.

That’s not how it is here in Cromwell.”

“We love our locals.

We just need targeted business support for hospitality and accommodation.”