Sunday, 15th March, 2020

We just wanted to give you an update on the latest information, resources and action taking place in respect to COVID-19 locally, nationally and globally, including a survey which will help hugely in getting you the resources you need.

Saturday's announcement by Prime Minister Ardern that anyone re-entering New Zealand from tonight (midnight Sunday) is to self-isolate for 14 days will no doubt have an increased impact on businesses already potentially struggling. Read the full announcement here.

We will continue to monitor official advice and encourage members to gather information from trusted sources at The Beehive, Ministry of Health and WHO (for global information). These are the sources of truth and it's important to have correct information when making decisions.

So what is Ignite doing?

  1. Executive Officer Naomi Lindsay is meeting with the Queenstown Chamber and QLDC tomorrow to discuss the local situation ahead of Tuesday's Government announcement on detailed measures to help businesses. What we know so far can be found here.
  2. We will continue to share information we receive with members and working collaboratively to ensure businesses get the assistance they need.
  3. We are working with Regional Business Partnerships on bringing expertise and a workshop to Wanaka in the coming weeks to assist businesses in planning for the future. You can reguster with them now though if you need help, including accessing a mentor.
  4. At this stage we will go ahead with our workshop and Golf Day this week and will monitor other events as things unfold.
  5. This is a fast moving situation, so staying informed via the above channels is key.

SURVEY - Help us seek and target government assistance for business support on your behalf

Working with our colleagues at the Otago Chamber of Commerce we would like to ask you to fill in the following survey to assist us in getting a full picture of the help required in the business community, so that we can better seek and target government assistance.  It will take no more than three minutes to

Some practical advice for businesses who may need help- this is good practice even if you're not feeling the impact yet:

  • Adapt marketing and sales plans -looking at new opportunities rather than cancelling completely
  • Reduce key operating costs where you can (labour, rent, inventory, leases)
  • Contact key suppliers (including landlords) and talk to them about renegotiating trading/payment terms where appropriate
  • Contact your business banking relationship manager and discuss ‘what-if’ scenarios with them (I’m doing ok now, but what cashflow/capital assistance might be available if this is still the case in three months)
  • Contact your outsourced IT and network support companies to discuss IT continuity plans (planning for extended periods of staff needing to work remotely). Our members Focus Technology and IT Centre are very well equipped to help on this.
  • Review business continuity plans, health and safety, insurance and sick leave policies
  • Keep close to your accountants, lawyers and HR advisors and keep good financial records. In fact give them a call now and see if they can help.

Lastly, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also indicated that the Government will announce further guidelines on mass gatherings this coming week. We will again be monitoring this and any potential impact on the Upper Clutha and regional community.

Some other useful notes:
Queenstown Airport has also released information on what it’s doing to keep staff, customers and the airport community safe. To keep up to date, visit their dedicated web page. As the gateway to the lower South it's important to know the steps they're taking.

What is COVID-19 and how does it spread? Read more here on the Ministry for Health website.