“The ACT Party has today heard about the devastating impacts the lockdown and Delta Level 2 is having on our hospitality industry,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government didn’t want the Epidemic Response Committee to continue because it didn’t want to hear real stories from real people about how the lockdown is impacting them.

“That’s why this afternoon ACT did our own unofficial Epidemic Response Committee with the hospitality industry.

“We invited Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash. They did not join the committee, but they could learn a lot from watching it back.

“The operators sent clear messages. Delta Level 2 does not work for them. It’s no good being able to open legally if you can’t break even. If it’s going to cost more than your takings to be open, you might as well stay closed.

“Planning is needed. Those who planned for Level 2 were blindsided by Delta Level 2.5. That includes people who leased premises on the basis they could operate at Level 2. The Government has known about Delta for months but dropped these rules on them at the last minute.

“One business owner told me has taken on $200,000 in debt in the past few weeks. Others spoke of being unable to pay suppliers, the sleepless nights, the stress of trying to keep staff employed and how unworkable and restrictive Delta Level 2 is for them.

“Business owners feel an enormous responsibility for their staff, putting in place pastoral care regimes for staff they hear crying on the phone.

“The stories these brave business told cannot be ignored. The slightly extended resurgence payment does not go far enough, and it should be weekly, even in Level 2.

“I’d like to thank the brave business owners who came to our committee today. We have listened and we will report back to Government on their plight and continue to fight for them to be treated fairly.”

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