Tuesday, 31st August, 2021

Dear Member,

COVID-19 – Update 51 – 31 August 2021

 Here’s the latest information for businesses following the Prime Minister’s update yesterday. Our next update will be if anything major changes or once cabinet meets to decide on the next steps after a week in Level 3.
 

What's New?



Support for Queenstown Lakes Tourism businesses - details announced
Business support for tourism operators in five South Island regions can be accessed from next week, with Otago Regional Business Partners Network appointed to lead engagement with businesses. Queenstown Lakes District Council holds overall responsibility for the contract.
 
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of how businesses can apply for support under two initiatives from the $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan announced in May.
  1. The first initiative will provide professional one-to-one support and tailored advice to help businesses adjust to the impact of COVID19. 
  2. The second initiative offers further grants to help put that advice and planning into action, to suit their own circumstances.
The $20 million tourism business support scheme, initially announced at TRENZ, offers grants up to $5,000 per business for expert advice on planning in response to COVID-19. A further grant of up to $5,000 is then available to help implement the plans and advice.

In the Queenstown Lakes District interested businesses should contact their Regional Business Partners Growth Advisor or click here to register their interest. Further details of eligibility criteria, and information on how to apply can be found here
 
The Tourism Communities Plan is a two-year programme of both short term support, and longer-term transformation of the wider tourism sector. Work continues on other parts of the twelve-point plan, and further updates will be announced as decisions are made,” Mr Nash said.
 
Click here for the full Minister’s release
 
Alongside the Business Advisory Support initiative and Advice Implementation Grant, the Government is making wider support available through the Tourism Kick-start Fund ($49 million) to help tourism businesses in the five South Island districts prepare for the return of international visitors. We expect to have more details about this fund once we are closer to reconnecting borders. 
 
Further information about the Tourism Kick-start Fund will become available here.
 
Resurgence Payment - clarification of eligibility

Businesses are required to hold evidence of their eligibility including:
  • Their revenue drop calculation
  • Whether the business is viable and ongoing
  • That it has been in business for at least 6 months
 
MSD is receiving applications where it is unclear that the 6 month test has been met and are therefore needing to ensure the business is eligible.
 
They therefore may ask for additional information such as
  • A description of the business activity, including how long they have carried on this activity.
  • Information to support they have received business income, such as copies of bank statements or invoices for the past 6 months.
 
If asked for this information to support your application, they will ask you to provide it within 5 working days so they can fully assess the application. They aim to complete reviews and accept or decline the application within 5 working days.

Wage subsidy - Round 2
  • Round 1 closes at 11.59pm on Thursday 2 September 2021.
  • Round 2 - The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 will be available for another two-week payment from 3 September. We'll have more information about this later this week, including how to reapply. Information will be here.
 

Covid-19 Level 3 Updates



From 11:59pm tonight (Tuesday 31 August), all areas south of Auckland will move to Alert Level 3, for a period of one week. This will be reviewed by Cabinet on Monday 6 September 2021. 
  • Auckland and Northland will remain at Alert Level 4.  Northland will move to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm Thursday 2 September, presuming wastewater and contact testing results in the area come back clear.
  • With the change in alert levels, mandatory record requirements for everyone south of the Auckland border will come into effect from 8 September 2021. Learn more about mandatory record keeping here.
  • Business owners and operators are now able to access their premises in order to prepare for contactless trading and to meet public health requirements.  Businesses that can meet Alert Level 3 requirements can open from 11:59pm Tuesday 31 August. For more information on these requirements, visit Unite Against COVID-19.
  • For NZers, Alert Level 3 means staying in your bubble, keeping your distance and shopping without contact.  For more information on Alert Level 3, visit Unite Against COVID-19.
 
Queenstown and Wanaka Airports moving to Alert Level 3 
Queenstown and Wanaka airports will move to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August.  Auckland and Northland will remain at Alert Level 4. At Alert Level 3 inter-regional travel is still highly limited. Below is an update about what Alert Level 3 looks like for Queenstown and Wanaka airports.
 
At Alert Level 3:
  • There are no scheduled commercial services or commercial general aviation activities at Queenstown or Wanaka airports
  • Essential travel/services will be facilitated as required
  • Airport terminals are closed to all non-essential personnel and to members of the public
The terminal upgrade programme was halted at Queenstown Airport under Alert Level 4.  Under Alert Level 3 construction work is permitted.  From 8:00am Wednesday 1 September the works will resume.  
 
For more information about Covid-19 and the airport, please visit their website.
 
Air New Zealand updates domestic network and flexibility policy after Alert Level changes
Air New Zealand is making changes to its domestic network and extending its domestic flexibility policy in response to the recent alert level changes around the country. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the changes are about providing assurance to customers who have made plans to travel over the next few weeks.

Under Level 3:
  • Food and beverage service onboard domestic flights remains suspended with water available on request.
  • Air New Zealand lounges, Fast Bag and valet parking remain closed.
  • Masks required onboard.
 
Those who need to travel while the country is at various Alert Levels should check their eligibility on the Government's COVID-19 website. Customers who meet the criteria and still wish to travel should call the Air New Zealand Contact Centre who will assist with their booking. Customers will also need to carry a letter or evidence confirming they are travelling for essential purposes. 

For the latest information, customers can check the Air New Zealand COVID-19 Hub and travel alerts page.


Webinars


 
Free online accommodation workshop - AbodeBooking with SiteMinder and Rooms Online, Tuesday 7 September 2021 - 12 pm 
 
Learn how to optimize your online distribution, increase reservations and margins. 
 
AbodeBooking invites you to our educational workshop, in collaboration with SiteMinder and Rooms Online. By the end of this workshop, you will have learned how to optimize your online distribution, increasing reservations and margins.
 
We will cover a variety of topics, including:
- Advice on digital marketing, online presence and advice on booking engines
- The current situation in the market, booking trends, and traveller behaviours.
- Channel management and online distribution
- How to increase occupancy, maximize margins and stay ahead of your competition
- The advantages of system integrations
- Wanaka and Queenstown businesses are also offered free one-to-one, in person consultation if they sign up.
 
Click here to attend.
 
HOW TO MAXIMISE YOUR SOCIAL IMPACT - Free Online Introductory Session
Thursday 2nd September, 11am - 12pm with Startup Queenstown Lakes
Our in-person workshop has been postponed, but come along to this introduction session.
This free Taster session is an introduction into Steven's Workshop (coming to Queenstown SOON!). Learn how to maximise your impact, focusing on a variety of structures followed by an open discussion with Steven & Aislinn about your journey.

Click here to RSVP
 
Customer Service Training for our Kiwi market
Destination Queenstown and Lake Wānaka Tourism, in partnership with Queenstown Resort College, are rolling out a training programme for frontline staff, and those welcoming visitors, across all sectors in the Lake District. The Ambassador training will be an online (zoom) 1.5 hour course delivered by the Queenstown Resort College and fully subsidised.
 
The course is for people working in frontline hospitality, retail and tourism (however anyone that has interaction with visitors, from any industry, is welcome). Register online here for the course which is designed to build pride of place, hone customer service skills, and prepare and polish our welcome for our kiwi visitors.

The course will cover:
  • Our Kiwi visitor expectations and how we can meet them.
  • The art of Kia Ora/hello.
  • Domestic visitors and dealing with New Zealand customers.
  • Knowing and understanding the stories of our regions.
  • Celebrating our culture and resilience and sharing our adventurous spirit with our visitors.
  • Understanding that our people are our product.  
 
Virtual tourism industry update  
We may not be able to get together for Tourism Summit Aotearoa just yet, but you can join virtually on 1 September for some updates that just can’t wait!  
Wednesday, 1 September 2021, 9.30am – 11.10am    
 
What to expect 
  • An update from Hon Stuart Nash, Minister of Tourism. 
  • TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts will reveal the results of TIA’s latest operator survey and share what TIA is doing to tackle the big issues facing the industry.
  • Professor Michael Baker, epidemiologist and COVID-19 elimination strategy expert will give an update on the current situation.
  • Rhonda Parry from Our Minds Matter will help us manage the immediate stress of COVID-19 and show us what a resilient response looks like. 
  • Hear an update on TRENZ Connect and plans for future TRENZ events.  
Registration is free and you are welcome to pass this invite on to others who may be interested. Register now.
 

Reminders



Wearing masks - Want to know more about masks and which ones are most effective? Checkout this video on the different types and effectiveness of masks. https://vimeo.com/594448696

Regional Travel for essential workers
The government is re-opening applications for business travel exemptions across regions from midday Sunday. You can find out more information here.   

The Queenstown Lakes Welfare Response Action Group is providing essential services under Alert Level 4 to ensure the welfare needs of the Queenstown Lakes community continue to be met. All local social services remain open but are operating under Level 4 protocols.

Vaccines will be available to be booked for everyone over 12 years of age from tomorrow (1 September). 
 

Business support for businesses and workers


 
Financial support for businesses who have been impacted by the move to Alert Level 4 is now available. There are a few support initiatives available and here is our guide to what support is available and the criteria. Click here to download the guide. 
 

Keeping your team upskilled during lockdown


Here’s some links to online courses that may be useful for your teams to enroll in and develop their learning during lockdown. We will continue to add to this list:
 
Hospitality Courses
Service IQ - Whether it’s new staff you need to upskill quickly, or experienced people who need a refresh, the courses are practical and contain the essential information you need to know to help protect and build your business. They are also quick, can be completed anytime, anywhere, and when you succeed you gain a certificate.
Click here to view courses
 
Learn Te Reo
Toro Mai from Massey University offers two introductory online courses in Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori. These are taught via an immersive multi-media online platform with interactive activities. They are approximately 10 hours each and can be studied at your own pace. These courses are not accredited - there are no costs involved, no assignments and no exams.
Click here to view courses.
 
Digital Skills with General Assembly - A Leader in Education
Learn new skills in just a few hours alongside industry experts.
Click here to view courses 
 

Mental health and wellbeing support


  • There’s information about local health and social services online or if you’re after some wellbeing tips, check out www.allright.org.nz or follow them on Facebook
  • The Business Response Group (BRG) has a resilience initiative available called Take Stock. This involves three free counselling sessions available for any small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) business owner located within the Queenstown Lakes District. Confidential services are offered through Benestar. To access this service contact Benestar on 0800 360 364 or counsellingsupportnz@benestar.com and quote the ‘Take stock’ program to redeem the sessions. As part of this, a free webinar is offered once a month to any owners, employees and family members of businesses within the Queenstown Lakes.
  • Online and digital self-help tools and resources are available for teens and young people including MelonYouthline free call, text or web chat; Sparklers. There is also information on the COVID-19 website for adults, about how to help keep children safe and reassured.


QLDC Services Update
All service centres, sport and recreation facilities, playgrounds and libraries will remain closed until further notice and there are a number of QLDC service changes to be aware of. However, the main QLDC phone line will still be operating with priority given to urgent issues. For non-urgent matters, email services@qldc.govt.nz or visit the QLDC website.  
 
Useful resources for more information
COVID-19: Information for businesses
COVID-19 New Zealand Government updates
Ministry of Health website for the latest updates on COVID-19
Work & Income NZ - COVID-19 Support
 
We are here to help so if you have any concerns or are not getting the support you need from the resources, please contact anyone below:
Destination Queenstown – Paul Abbot – CEO – paul@queenstownNZ.nz 
Queenstown Chamber – Ruth Stokes – CEO – ceo@queenstownchamber.org.nz 
Lake Wānaka Tourism – Tim Barke -  GM – gm@wanaka.co.nz 
Ignite Wānaka Chamber – Naomi Lindsay – General Manager – naomi@ignitewanaka.co.nz 
Arrowtown Promotion & Business Association (APBA) - Nicky Busst - Manager - info@arrowtown.com 
QLDC Economic Development – Peter Harris – Economic Development Manager peter.harris@qldc.govt.nz 
Regional Business Partners – Tara Druce – Business Advisor – tara@otagorbp.co.nz