Orange Light is Welcome but Still too Slow for Some

The decision to move Auckland to orange in the COVID traffic light system has been welcomed by Hospitality New Zealand, though it says it will be too late for some businesses.

Chief Executive Julie White said it’s a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy start to summer for many operators.

“Finally, we get there, but it will be too late for some. It’s a small Christmas gift but whether it’ll bring much cheer is another matter. For some it will still be a sad Christmas. I don’t know why this couldn’t have happened earlier.”

White added that Auckland’s vaccination rates are high, and the hospitals are not under stress or overloaded with just a few people in ICU.

“Why couldn’t we have moved earlier? We should have gone into orange straight away,” she said.

“Every day counts and if we had been in orange for the past two weeks that would have made a huge difference. My fear is this will have come too late because there is now no further funding available.

“The Government has made that clear. The wage subsidy and the Resurgence Support Payment have both finished and now we’re on our own, apart from the one-off transition payment. Now we wait and see what the damage was.

“Our accommodation members are reporting occupancy levels at only 30-60 percent from late December through to mid-January, so they have a long way back, despite the move to orange.”