It sucks, but we can do this
August 24 2021 by David Gibbs, General Manager | QMG
Last Tuesday afternoon was a day like most others. Tuesday is LWB delivery day across the region and we were popping into businesses to give them their personal copy. Town was quite busy when the ski fields emptied and then at around 3pm I got a text from one of our journalists that a positive case had popped up in the community. It didn’t even occur to me at the time that I would need to grab files from the office before I left for the day because I wasn’t going to be back on Wednesday. The 6pm full lockdown announcement was quite a surprise.
For South Island business leaders, it sucks but we get it and if I had thought it through, I would have logically concluded that once one Delta case got in, everyone was going into isolation until the health officials had a grasp on how far and how quickly it has spread.
There is no doubt the current lockdown will thump local business and our GDP really hard! Many events, shows, gigs including most of Winter Pride are now all cancelled or rescheduled and with Auckland staying in lockdown for a while yet, that wonderful stream of visitors’ dollars will also dry up.
Another insight was the number of visitors who were in town when the lockdown was announced. Shame everyone jumped on a plane and headed north to get home. Personally, I would have thought it was better to do lockdown here.
We have been here before and survived and as painful as it is to say we will do it again. For a while it’s going to be hard but we are resilient and a very supportive bunch. It sucks and its hard but with the vaccine rollout ramping up to respectable levels now, there is a pathway out of this and one that’s sustainable this time.
We will survive the near term and we know what to do. Last year the town pulled together, whether that was neighbours looking out for each other or locals supporting local business and the other ways around, that spirit is required again. This time support services will be sorely needed and will be needing our help. I don’t know, but suspect many people have less buffer this time around.
History shows us that the economy will bounce back quickly once the country reopens and confidence in travel returns and I think it likely that activity will be back at pre-lockdown levels by the end of the year. Meanwhile hopefully from Saturday, when we are released from level 4, let’s enjoy our relative freedom and count our blessings. I for one am looking forward to enjoying having our town, just for ourselves again. I’ll enjoy it more this time.