The new COVID rules and restrictions in place from 8th September in New Zealand will make it almost impossible to run a business event and Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) has made a direct call to government for critical industry support.
Under Level 2 from Wednesday 8 September, gatherings outside of Auckland will need to be under 50 persons in a defined space, down from 100 in previous Level 2 guidelines, mask wearing will be mandatory and all attendees will need to scan in for contact tracing. Auckland remains at level 4, which restricts gatherings to ten people.
These rules will be particularly distressing, not to mention bewildering, for events operators in the South Island where there is no sign of the Delta variant.
“Yesterday’s announcement, while a sting, was not unexpected.” Said BEIA CEO Lisa Hopkins “It is now time for the Government to look at business events specifically, and not just as a sector that may receive benefit from other support programmes put in place for regional tourism organisations, major events or tourism.”
“This period, prior to Christmas, is considered to be our busiest time of the year. The worst possible scenario is that the sector and the vast number of businesses who support it are unable to generate any income until February 2022 at the earliest,” Hopkins said.
“Our ask is that the Government continues with the Resurgence Subsidy Programme, not as a one-off, but as on-going support.”
Hopkins is very clear about the type support required “We are not asking for business advice and implementation support – these businesses have already proved to be sustainable and viable. They just need to keep the lights on and staff employed, so they can play their vital role in New Zealand’s recovery and reconnection with the world.”
As of the 7th September fully vaccinated rates in New Zealand sit at 27.4% of the population, compared to Australia at 31% of its total population – both the lowest of the western world.