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Carol Murphy has owned the 14-unit motel on Jellicoe Cres since 2017 and feels as if the Covid-19 restrictions are robbing her of her future.


The hospitality industry continues to be hit hard by ongoing Covid-19 shutdowns and restrictions. KELLEY TANTAU talks to the owner of a Thames motel, who says her revenue drops up to 100 per cent each time the Auckland border is closed.

A Thames motelier hopes the latest Covid-19 lockdown will be the country’s last.
For Carol Murphy, the ongoing alert level restrictions and the continuing Auckland shutdown feels as if her future is being taken away from her, one week at a time.
She owns and operates Tuscany on Thames and told The Profile that as soon as regional borders close, her occupancy “basically goes to zero overnight”.
“This current lockdown has seen me with the odd essential worker, but every lockdown until this one has seen me with a 100 per cent income loss at level 4, and [it] slowly crawls back as the levels come down.”
Carol, who lives in Thames, has owned the 14-unit motel on Jellicoe Cres since 2017.
The first week under alert level 4, her revenue went down 92 per cent, falling to 100 per cent in week two.
In alert level 3, she lost 70 per cent of her income, and 60 per cent in level 2.
“Level 3 and 2 have changed this time, and this has made things harder again,” she said. “Until we go to the old level 2 and Auckland is also out, my business will continue to make a loss every month.”
Carol, who employs three staff and a handyman, said she usually spent between $30,000 and $40,000 a year on maintaining the motel.
However, to counteract her losses, she had not been able to spend any money on maintenance for more than a year.
“I am getting to the end of my working life, and these last few years are for me to secure my future but it feels like it is being taken away from me,” she said.
“I would like nothing more than to have the freedom to run my business the way it should be run.”
Carol said the hospitality industry had received “very little” government help, and she hoped this lockdown would be the country’s last.
“Not one sector has been hit as hard as the hospitality sector and we can be as ‘kind’ as much as we want, but at the end of the day we need a solution or some help,” she said.
“I’m not saying that what we’ve done is wrong. What I’m saying is that it cannot continue, and we have to learn to live with it.”