COVID-19 Business Update – 18 September 2020

Business, Update

Hello again – welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Digest. Read on for this week’s update.

Restrictions to be Lifted in Most of Country on Sep 21

COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted across the country on September 21, except in Auckland, which has been the centre of the second wave of infections.

However, cabinet will review the current rules for Auckland at its September 21 meeting, potentially increasing gathering limits if the situation remains stable.  This change, if it comes, will be effective on September 23.

Although restrictions will be lifted, masks will still be mandatory on all public transport.

NZ Set to Post Deepest Economic Slump on Record

EconomyNew Zealand is set to record its sharpest quarterly contraction and officially enter recession when it releases second quarter economic data this week, due to the strict lockdown measures which impacted businesses.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said there will be a “large drop” in the June quarter, but successfully containing the virus will likely help recovery prospects.  The median forecast of economists polled by Reuters showed GDP shrinking 12.8% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to June.

Free Expert Business Advice for Auckland Businesses

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) has supported thousands of businesses affected by COVID-19 this year by giving them access to fully funded expert advice amounting to $10 million.

If you haven’t connected with them, now is the best time to get consultancy services in the following key areas:

  • HR, employee relations and legal – including restructures, employment contracts, legal obligations and HR processes, and ownership structures
  • Financial and cashflow management – including cashflow forecasting, business scenario forecasting, capital raising and debt restructuring
  • Health and wellness – including health and safety plans, employee wellbeing plans and stress management coaching
  • Business continuity planning – including crisis management, pivot strategies and business continuity plans or business resilience plans
  • Marketing strategy – including plans for marketing, product launches, digital marketing and reaching new customers
  • Digital enablement strategy – including social media strategy, ecommerce strategy, website optimisation, and digital customer journey mapping
  • Business hibernation (for tourism businesses only) – including business debt hibernation processes and scenario planning

Those who haven’t previously accessed support from the Regional Business Partner have to register on the RBP website first.  You would need your GST number and NZBN number to do this.  Meanwhile, Auckland businesses already registered can email the ATEED Business Helpdesk for their application, even if initial support from the COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund has been accessed.

If you would like to chat about your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We can help you develop a plan for your specific situation.

Government Loan Applications Extended

The government has extended the Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme until the end of the year.  For those who haven’t applied for this government loan yet, you can check your eligibility here or you can get in touch with us so we can assist you with your application.

The Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme allows you to get financial assistance of up to $100,000 and an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee.  Repayments are not required for the first two years, but if the loan is paid back within a year, there will be no interest.

Keeping Your Mental Health in Check and Supporting Others

With the prolonged lockdowns and tight social restrictions, combined with the financial uncertainty that everyone is facing, it is important to keep our own mental health in check and look out for others.  In this Forbes article, Psychiatrist Dr. Dawn Brown discussed some tips on how you can support those struggling with their mental health:

  • Mental, HealthAllow for a conversation. As mental health can be a very sensitive matter, start slow and let them lead.
  • Treat them with respect and understanding. Watch your language, don’t judge, and be careful not to make assumptions.
  • Encourage seeking the support they need. Your support alone may not be enough, so encourage them to talk to a professional who is equipped with more resources to help them.
  • Be supportive of positive mental health and do your part to make your workplace better.

Meanwhile, this article focuses on some weekend habits that can help you boost your happiness and productivity.  Some ideas include:

  • Going for solo dates to renew your mind and experience something new. This exploration will give you fresh sources of creativity.
  • Do a weekly personal check-in. This will reorient your life if certain aspects are off track and help you assess your emotional well-being.
  • Connect with close friends and family. Stay in touch by scheduling video calls and starting meaningful conversations.  Doing this will improve your connection and make you feel better.

Avoiding COVID-19 Online Scams

Recently, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19-related online scams that steal your personal data, impersonate authorities, offer fraudulent medical goods and services, and make fake requests for charitable donations.  Below are some tips from Google Safety Center to keep you from falling victim to these scams.

  • ScammerKnow how scammers may reach you– Aside from emails, they may also use text messages, automated calls, and malicious websites.
  • Check trusted sources directly– Scammers may pose as trusted and authoritative sources. So directly visit reliable sources instead to get the latest factual information.
  • Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing– Do not provide confidential information such as logins, bank details, and addresses to suspicious or unverified sources. Donate directly through non-profits.
  • Double-check links and email addresses before clicking– Fake links imitate established websites by adding extra random letters and numbers or words, so be extra careful and check before you click.
  • Search to see if it’s been reported– Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or suspicious portion of the message on your search engine to check if it has already been reported.
  • Add an extra layer of security to your account– Add two-factor authentications to your accounts for extra protection online.

If you encounter phishing pages, you can report it here.  For malicious software, you can report the site here.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

Want to grow your business? Our Free Resources will Help