All businesses should be allowed to stay open, with appropriate measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, if New Zealand goes into Alert Level 4 lockdown, Auckland Business Chamber CEO Michael Barnett says.
The Government is expected to announce this afternoon whether current Level 3 restrictions for Auckland and Level 2 restrictions for the rest of New Zealand be ramped up or not. As it stands the current alert levels were meant to end at midnight tonight.
Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast today Mr Barnett called for the system of designating some businesses as "essential" should be scrapped in favour of a system where there are a set of rules any business can abide by in order to stay open during a Level 4 lockdown.
Mr Barnett said the Government is currently "picking its winners", such as supermarkets, and leaving the butchers, greengrocers, manufacturers and exporters out in the cold.
He said he thinks businesses can be trusted to follow the same rules as supermarkets, "the same, if not better", and that the cost of a second Level 4 lockdown could destroy many more businesses.
He also said he had spoken with Treasury, and asked them to signal as early as possible whether further wage subsidies will be available to businesses.
Yesterday Finance Minister Grant Robertson signalled the Government may announce a wage subsidy and business support package if current alert level restrictions are extended past today.