Thames may have looked like “an absolute zoo” on its first day in Covid-19 alert level 3 conditions, but support for small businesses will have to be long-lived to ensure they get back on their feet, the business association says.
On September 1, the first day out of the alert level 4 lockdown, Thames Business Association chief executive Sue Lewis-O’Halloran told The Profile the town’s main street was “reasonably busy” and it had been “almost difficult getting a parking spot”.
Queues to the town’s takeaway restaurants, which can operate under level 3 provided they are contactless, were snaked around Goldfields Shopping Centre, she said.
“I just hope people spread their hunger around. Let’s go to McDonald’s one day and then maybe Sugar Cafe or Food for Thought or Grahamstown Coffee Shack, or any of the others that are open, because they need support to survive,” she said.
When news broke that New Zealand would head into a nationwide lockdown from midnight on August 17, Sue said it had come as “a bit of a surprise”.
“We had our Business Breakfast and Lunch programme launch that day, and we had a full house both times. We also had a Kiwi Fusion dinner that night, but by that time, the word had started to trickle out that there was going to be a shutdown.”
Now under level 3, she encouraged people to shop local and utilise businesses’ click and collect services where applicable.
“I did click and collect with Carson’s Books and picked up my order. They had it ready at the front door and it was easy-peasy,” she said.
“I’m also doing a click and collect at Bed, Bath and Beyond in the Goldfields Mall. We’re all just doing the best we can with what we have,” she said.
“I do hope we get to level 2 soon because there are still a lot of businesses that cannot operate easily in level 3.
“However, Thames businesses are amazingly resilient, and it’s just outstanding what they can achieve in some pretty tough times.”
The business association has an online directory pointing customers to stores, businesses, and accommodation providers who are open under alert level 3 and lower. For information, visit: www.tba.nz. By KELLY TANTAU