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Monday, July 15, 2024
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Locals head back to work

An empty car park at The Warehouse in Masterton should be a thing of the past under ‘click and collect’ when Alert Level 3 arrives. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

Construction and forestry winners

It may not be entirely normal, but there will be more people working when New Zealand enters a “new normal” next Tuesday, as Alert Level 4 is replaced by Alert Level 3 restrictions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a five-day extension to Alert Level 4 on Monday, although two of those days are the weekend, and Monday is a public holiday for Anzac Day.
Retail

The shift to Alert Level 3 will mean some, but not all, retail establishments will open up a more comprehensive online delivery and click-and-collect service, including The Warehouse and Mitre
10 in Masterton and Martinborough.

The guidelines for Level 3 state, “businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.”

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment [MBIE] clarified this further.

“You can sell any goods to customers by phone/online order and contactless delivery or collection.

“You cannot open your physical retail storefront to customers unless you are a supermarket, dairy or petrol station.

“Customers can also collect goods through drive-through or contactless pick-up, such as click and collect, instead of delivery.”

Most businesses – retail, hospitality, or otherwise – are allowed to operate like a mini Amazon.com, delivering products without contact, whether that’s clothing, white goods, or a cup of hot coffee.

It’s unclear if any physical retail stores will operate a policy of contactless pick-up.

It’s likely most will just open up their online side.

Those without an online shop, particularly stores selling try-before-you-buy items like clothing, may opt to remain closed until Level 2.

Unfortunately, it’s the smaller boutiques that will feel the squeeze more.

Mitre 10 in Masterton and Martinborough is now able to expand online offerings, employing staff to operate the Click and Collect facilities for those looking to do a little DIY.

Chief of customer marketing and inspiration Jules Lloyd-Jones said, “When we move to Level 3, Mitre 10 customers will be able to shop our full range online.

“Customers can choose from either contactless home delivery or contactless Click and Collect [at an allotted time] from the entranceway or carpark of their local store.

“Customers who are unable to order online or aren’t able to find exactly what they are looking for online, can phone their local store for help from a personal shopper.”

A move to Level 3 next week will not reinvigorate the CBD.

Warwick Delmonte, the owner of Paper Plus on Queen St, said Level 3 would not change much for many business owners, but it was a time to get creative.

He hopes to start a runner system next week where staff will be able to fetch items for customers from the back door.

“We just know Level 3 means we cannot open our doors, and we’re wobbling,” he said.

“A lot of businesses are wobbling … The power still comes in; the rent still needs to be paid – income is zero, and it has been for four weeks.

“Now we’ve been told it’s going to be for another week or two or three – we’re wobbling and we’re not the only ones.”

At Level 3, “Most businesses open, and business premises can be open for staff and customers with appropriate measures in place,” according to government guidelines.

But, for now, Level 3 presents at least some improvement on the situation, with online retail set to boom.

– Arthur Hawkes and Aleyna Martinez

CONSTRUCTION

Gareth Norris, managing director of Jennian Homes Wairarapa, said they had been working closely with the Master Builders Association and other local companies to develop plans for Level 3.

“We’ve spent the last week preparing for it. We’ve been talking to our contractors and suppliers, working on health and safety systems.

“We are pretty confident with what we’ve come up with and are ready to go back to work.”

On-site measures would include having access to running water and hand sanitiser, recording people’s movements, limiting the number of sub-trades on site at a time and people wearing face masks and gloves when working in close proximity with each other.

Paul Southey from A1 Homes in Greytown said they had been working on a contingency plan for several weeks but there would still be delays.

“We are nervously excited as an industry to go and get things moving again. But we are very conscious and mindful that we don’t want to spread it.

“The biggest thing will be people being patient. Things are going to take longer because of this.”

Wairarapa had been lucky with a recent building boom but while there was “forward work” still ahead, Southey did worry about what the state of the industry would be in three to six months.

Mason Cameron from Masterton’s eHaus said the past four weeks had been manageable but he was glad the lockdown was about to be lifted.

“It’s just about getting back to work,” he said.

He said the slight extension would give them the two to three days needed to get things set up to operate at Level 3.

“A lot of the jobs we are working are quite isolated anyway. Some of the jobs in people’s homes will have to wait in the background though.”

– GIANINA SCHWANECKE

FORESTRY

The change was good news for those in the forestry industry.

Tauranga-based managing director of Forest360, Dan Gaddum, said a number of their operations would be able to restart at Level 3.

“The industry has spent the last two to three weeks establishing a whole lot of protocols for dealing with covid-19.”

It was a good time for the lockdown to lift as the log supply chain was reasonably empty and the ports had since been cleaned out, he said.

“The market is looking very good. It’s substantially better than when we went into the lockdown.”

Work would soon get under way harvesting supply trees and exporting logs.

Preparations to plant 3000-hectares of forestry would also soon be under way, but office staff would continue to work from home.

“The important thing is that our services are able to continue.”

Dave Hilliard, from JNL, said Monday’s announcement was “great news”.

While it would take some time before the plant would get back to “business as usual”, workers could feel excited about getting back to work, he said.

During the lockdown, a huge amount of planning had been done to prepare for the mill to reopen and operate safely.

“It’s not just the mill workers we need to keep safe, but also our people out in the forests.”

– GIANINA SCHWANECKE

KEY POINTS – ALERT LEVEL 3

  • Alert Level 4 will become Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm, Monday, April 27. It will be reviewed on May 11.
  • Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials, then you must be at home.
  • Work and learn from home if you can. At-risk students and staff should stay at home. Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them.
  • Make your business covid-19 safe. Construction, manufacturing and forestry will be able to open, as will retail so long as it is contactless retail.
  • Stay regional. You can exercise at parks or beaches within your region, but the closer to home the better. Activities must be safe – keep two metres away from anybody not in your bubble. Make minimal trips.
  • Keep your bubble as small as possible. If you need to, you can expand your bubble a small amount to bring in close family, isolated people or caregivers.
  • Wash your hands often with soap. Then dry them. Cough into your elbow.
  • If you’re sick stay at home and seek advice from your GP or Healthline about getting a test.

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