8 September 2021
Topic: Impact of COVID alert levels
Essentially I'm looking at how Rotorua's hospo sector is faring under this Level 2 scenario.
I wanted to ask [Mayor] Steve [Chadwick]:
How big a blow is the fact we can't at present host Auckland visitors for Rotorua in general, and the hospo sector in particular?
I've spoken to a couple of hospo figures who also mentioned the removal of conference business as a blow, especially outside of the summer period - again can I ask Steve if she believes this is having an impact here?
From Mayor Chadwick:
Auckland is our biggest domestic market and Aucklanders make up about 30% of spending across our accommodation, arts and recreation, food and beverage, retail and transport sectors, so the longer we miss out on this market the greater the impact on businesses reliant on tourism.
Events, including conferences, have been helping to keep things going over winter and I know our venues staff are working really hard to reschedule as many events as possible rather than having them cancelled as a result of the latest lockdown.
There is also a bit of concern around what the upcoming school holidays may look like for us this year if we still don’t have the Auckland market by then – it is usually a busy time for us.
We are still in very uncertain times which means there is ongoing anxiety so it’s a very tough environment for our businesses right now, particularly knowing how different and more dangerous the Delta variant is. Business people are nervous and that’s understandable.
It's really important that everyone continues to play their part in following the rules and guidelines so that we can move back to Level 1 – and with it some sort of normality – as soon as possible.
Media: NZME (Rotorua Daily Post and BOP Times)
Topic: Transition to Alert Level 2
I am writing a story about day one of alert level two and have some questions for Mayor Steve Chadwick.
Could I please have some comment on the move to alert level 2 for Rotorua residents and local businesses and what this will mean for them?
How would you describe the vibe in Rotorua today?
From Mayor Chadwick:
From what I understand the transition to Level 2 has gone smoothly in Rotorua and when I was out earlier today it looked like a pretty normal day in the CBD which was heartening to see. I’ve heard there were queues outside some stores and cafes so it’s great the community has come out to support our local businesses.
There has also been a steady stream of people at Council facilities like the library and Aquatic Centre.
I’m sure the community will continue to support our local facilities and businesses. It remains very important to keep following the rules around signing in, wearing masks and distancing so we can transition back to Level 1 as soon as possible.