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Hospitality will close next week without clarity on subsidy rules

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The hospitality sector has today called on Grant Robertson to urgently clarify that the wage subsidy is available to all hospitality businesses with a revenue cut of over 40% in Level 2.5. The Government has appeared this week to add a restriction on the subsidy, confining it only to businesses that could claim their revenue cut is directly related to Auckland in Level 4.

Hospitality NZ CEO Julie White says the Government must urgently clarify the remarks of Grant Robertson which suggested the new condition.

"Friday’s confirmation of the subsidy was initially greeted with some relief, but this late addition of a new condition is cruel and heartbreaking.

"The current Covid levels have suppressed all hospitality revenue, everywhere. Few people are going out, and the 50-person venue cap forces almost every open business to run at a loss. "The difference between Level 4 and 2.5 is only the size of the loss. That wage subsidy is as desperately needed outside of Auckland as in it.

White said the new condition exemplified the lack of clarity and certainty creating financial mayhem and mental stress for business owners and staff.

"Today, businesses are working out next week’s staffing rosters. If the wage subsidy isn’t available, they can’t afford to open. Staff won’t be paid anything."

White said bureaucrats would want very specific evidence about the effect of lost Auckland customers. Some accommodation businesses could comply, but restaurants and cafes could not. She said the effect of Auckland’s lockdown was clear as they were not going anywhere, and were even cancelling bookings through to Christmas.

"There is no bounce back this time. Everyone is holding onto their wallets.

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