COVID-19 Business Update – 24 July 2020
Hello again – welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Digest. Read on for this week’s update.
Financial Boost for Public Health Services
As we are going to be living with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for some time, Minister of Health Chris Hipkins has announced a boost in funding for public health of more than $300 million.
The funds boost to Pharmac will purchase medicines and medical devices to respond to COVID-19. Pharmac will receive an additional $74 million this year and $76 million in 2021/22, out of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
Meanwhile, contact tracing efforts get a slice of $30 million through the National Close Contact Service, and $23 million will be invested to develop the National Immunisation Solution.
Other investments that make up the $302.6 million fund include:
- $50 million for PPE
- $35 millon for oxygen supply
- $14.6 million for telehealth services
New Zealand Exports in Strong Demand
The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) insight report said that the soaring revenue from dairy, meat, and horticulture exports amid the COVID-19 pandemic can be attributed to strong demand from the Chinese market, flexible supply chains, and trust in the quality of food processing in New Zealand.
NZIER principal economist Chris Nixon said that the country’s primary industries were well positioned to weather the storm, with sales for the year to date up by almost $1 billion compared to the same period last year.
Growing Your Network When There are No Networking Events
As a business owner, you may have been part of the typical ways of networking like attending conferences and business dinners. However, with so much of the world in lockdown at the moment, growing your professional connections the traditional way may not be possible.
While you can build relationships virtually by engaging on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, this insightful Harvard Business Review article shares other strategies to consider including:
- Turning canceled conferences into private networking opportunities.
- Rethinking geographic boundaries when creating guest lists for virtual cocktail gatherings.
- Inviting senior leaders to online working group meetings.
Aside from virtual conferences, sharing your expertise, whether by volunteering, creating online content or courses, or contributing to online communities, can introduce you to new people who need what you offer. If you want to talk about your specific situation and rethink your business strategy, please get in touch with us and we’ll help you work out a plan.
Beware of COVID-19 Scams
Scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to con people into giving their money or confidential personal information. Here are some of the COVID-19 scams to look out for:
- Scams offering COVID-19 testing, vaccines, or a cure
- Fake charities
- “Person in need” scams
- Scams targeting Social Security benefits
While the reason behind the fraud is new, the tactics are familiar. The best defence is to say No if anyone contacts you asking for your personal information like, bank account or credit card details, or driver’s licence number; someone you don’t know requests money through a payment app or pre-paid gift cards; someone you don’t know sends you a cheque for some reason and asks you to send a portion back; or simply your gut tells you that it is too good to be true or it doesn’t feel right.
It pays to be wary in these situations so please be on the lookout for these scams.
Mentoring Scheme for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
On Tuesday, the Economic Development and Small Business Ministers announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business Partner Network, on top of the $15 million invested since March.
The Regional Business Partner Network gives business owners access to advice and resources on business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, HR issues, and sector-specific concerns amid the COVID-19 crisis. You can find more details in this article from Treasury.
If you’re looking for ways to adapt your business, get in touch with us. We’ll help you take stock and find opportunities to improve.
Connecting Employers with People Looking for Work
If you’re looking for great talent – there’s no better time than right now! With many skilled workers out of a job, you may want to use this time to hire.
If you need help hiring new employees, Work and Income offers free recruitment services. You can advertise jobs for free and easily access work-ready people with skills to suit all kinds of jobs. You can also talk to them about tailoring a recruitment plan to meet your business needs.
Government Loan Applications Extended
The government is offering one-off loans to small businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees, sole traders, and self-employed individuals, that have been affected by COVID-19 to support their cashflow needs.
The Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme means you can 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.
The government has extended this loan 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.
Application for Wage Subsidy Extensions are ongoing
Applications for the Wage Subsidy Extension are open until 1 September 2020. This initiative is aimed at supporting employers, including the self-employed, who have been significantly hit by COVID-19. Under this scheme, the wages of your employees will be covered over an 8-week period.
To be eligible for this financial support, your business must have had at least a 40% revenue loss for a continuous 30-day period in the last 40 days before the application. Eligible employers must also reapply for the Wage Subsidy Extension once their 12-week Wage Subsidy has ended. You can read through the guidelines and apply online here. If you have any questions about this government program, contact us.
Everyone is encouraged to keep track of who you’ve seen and where you’ve been through the COVID Tracer app to assist with contact tracing if necessary. As of 14 July, the app has had 595,400 registrations and the next update to the app will be released at the end of this month to make it a more comprehensive contact tracing tool and increase the number of people who can use it.
You can help customers in maintaining their “digital diary” by displaying a QR code poster.
Get your QR Code Poster
Businesses can get their official NZ COVID Tracer QR code posters through the new self-service webform to support contact tracing with the NZ COVID Tracer app. A valid New Zealand driver’s licence is required to use this service. However, if you have a large number of locations or do not have a driver’s licence, you can email a completed template to the Ministry of Health. More information can be found here.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.