There will be no public Anzac ceremonies in Wairarapa this year. PHOTO/FILE
Anzac Day services cancelled, hospitality industry badly hit
A bid by Carterton district councillor Steve Cretney to recommend a rates freeze and halt “non-urgent projects” failed to reach the debating chamber at Wednesday’s council meeting.
He wanted to introduce a late agenda item “in response to the international pandemic and crises”.
The item recommended a rate freeze, suspension of all “non-urgent” projects “infrastructure expenditures”, and a hiring and wage freeze across all council departments.
The motion to introduce the item was voted down, five to three.
Cretney felt the government’s $12.1b aid package would “never actually reach all the people who need it”, and he was proposing the motion to “give a bit more help to the community”.
He said the council’s wastewater project was urgent, but projects such as the proposed dog pound and the town’s clock tower were not.
“We, as councillors, will be following [covid-19] closely.
“If we see it’s getting a lot worse, we can look to make some changes if we need to.”
He said the motion being turned down was part of “the democratic process”.
“I just want the Carterton community to know that we are, as a council, thinking of them at this tough time, and know that with everything we do, we have them in mind.”
Thursday’s government ban on indoor events with more than 100 people will have specific implications for the hospitality sector.
“We will work with the sector over the next 24-36 hours to develop guidance,” Health Minister Dr David Clark said on Thursday.
Lone Star Masterton proprietor Tom Roseingrave said hospitality was most vulnerable to the covid-19 response because the industry centred around social interaction.
He said they would be taking advice on the latest social gatherings announcement from their head office and was likely to know more by the weekend.
“At the moment, our priority is on keeping our staff and guests as safe as we can,” he said.
Trust House chief executive Allan Pollard echoed Roseingrave’s sentiments.
“We are trying to grasp the situation, but our focus is on our people first, then our businesses. I am so proud of our staff and how resilient they have been throughout this.”
Pollard said the covid-19 response had hit Copthorne Hotel and Resort in Solway the hardest of all their businesses.
“We’ve had 804 room cancellations since last Friday up to June.”
He expected the response would “bite” pubs next week.
Meanwhile, Martinborough Hotel owners Tim and Jacinda Smith were optimistic Wairarapa hoteliers were in a unique situation to not be hit hard by the covid-19 travel restrictions.
The hotel lost some bookings when the government announcements were made on the weekend but most of these losses had been made up for with new bookings.
“New Zealanders who were going overseas are staying home and some are coming here – it’s almost a rotation of clients,” Tim Smith said.
The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association on Thursday cancelled all public Anzac Day Services on April 25 and postponed its national Poppy Day Appeal.
RSA national president BJ Clark said this was the first time that public services to commemorate Anzac Day had been cancelled since they began in 1916, and the Poppy Day Appeal postponed.
New Zealand was under attack and so the bonds of service, sacrifice, and support that our community had demonstrated in times of war, adversity, and natural disaster must once again come to the fore, he said.
“Unprecedented times call for unprecedented decisions to protect the health and safety of all New Zealanders.”
The government on Thursday advised New Zealanders not to travel overseas.
“We are raising our travel advice to the highest level: do not travel,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.
“This is the first time the government has advised New Zealanders against travelling anywhere overseas.
“That reflects the seriousness of the situation we are facing with covid-19.”
House of Travel Masterton owner-operator Sam Hepburn said Peters’ announcement “hugely affects business”.
Hepburn stressed travel bans were not going to last forever, and he anticipated a boost in sales once bans were lifted around the world.
As the government had asked all Kiwis to come home, the shop floor had not been as quiet as one would expect, Hepburn said.
“It’s been busier than normal – we’re frantically trying to get people home”.
Sales at Eketahuna’s sex shop, Tabu, are on the rise as many people prepare for the possibility of self-isolation. The adult boutique store owner, Ian Turner, said there had been an increased mix of men and woman venturing into the store.
“Quite a few people have mentioned that they are buying because they are preparing to be stuck at home.”
He said online sales had increased by about 40 per cent since the outbreak, with most customers coming from Masterton or Palmerston North.
The Warehouse Masterton was satisfied with inventory levels at the moment and were monitoring the situation, a spokesperson said. It had also increased cleaning in store.
- New Zealand has activated its national pandemic plan, which is at the “stamp it out” phase.
- As with influenza, Covid-19 symptoms include, fever, cough, body ache, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Early studies indicate that the average number of people who catch the virus from an infected person could be from two to three. The rates for influenza is 1.3.
- In New Zealand, 10 to 20 per cent of people catch flu each year, bit it results in only about 500 deaths.
- The most recent pandemic to affect New Zealand was the H1N1 [swine flu] in 2009, with 3175 case and 19 deaths.
- Both influenza and Covid-19 may be prevented with measures like frequent, thorough hand washing and staying at home when sick,and limiting contact with people who are infected.
- People who suspect they have Covid-19 should call a dedicated healthline for free on 0800 358 5453 – and phone ahead before visiting a GP clinic or hospital.