There is a sense of “nervous anticipation” in the Oamaru business community since the move back to Alert Level 2, North Otago Chamber of Commerce chairman Simon Berry says.
But people were more prepared this time, with many having increased their online presence and contactless options, Mr Berry said.
After lockdown, the local economy had bounced back better and faster than anticipated, he said.
“Everyone was pretty pleased with the throughput we were getting in town with domestic visitors.
“We are still ticking along pretty good. Real estate is still quite strong. I think the low interest rates are keeping people out investing.”
However, if the alert level was raised to three or four, it would have a much more severe impact on businesses, particularly hospitality and retail, he said.
“They are OK at the moment in Level 2 because they can still operate as retailers and so on, but it stretches everyone’s balance sheet out.
“There is a bit of nervousness around whether it is going to spread further, in the sense of be contained in Auckland?’ – there are serious implications if it is not.”
Rose’s General Store and Information owner Wendy Simpson said she noticed a drop-off in visitors as soon as the alert level was raised on Wednesday.
Her sales figures for this week, compared with the week before, had dropped by 50%, although she had been “really busy” before that and was confident things would bounce back.
“July was just as busy as December,” Mrs Simpson said.
“I think people are just anxious, but the Government has got on to it really quickly.”
Masks had been her biggest seller during the past week.
Scotts Brewing Co operations manager Brooke Kofoed said the first lockdown prompted the brewery to increase its online presence, and it was now fully set up for contactless takeaways, as well as re-implementing social distancing requirements.
“We are definitely more prepared this time around.
“We have done it before and we can continue doing it all again.”