17th April, 2020

New Zealand signals move to Level 3 restrictions: retailers urged to start preparing

New Zealand may be on the cusp of relaxing at least some of its social distancing and lockdown restrictions, and the nation’s retail businesses are being urged to start preparing now.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country may consider moving to Level 3 restrictions, during which some businesses may be allowed to reopen. Border restrictions would remain in place.

“We have an opportunity to do something no other country has achieved, eliminating the virus,” said Ardern.

“By design, Level 3 is a progression, not a rush to normality. It carries forward many of the restrictions in place at Level 4, including the requirement to mainly be at home in your bubble and to limit contact with others.”

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Retail and related supply chain operations to plan ahead

Perhaps most significantly, a move to Level 3 lockdown would mean some sectors of business would be able to begin trading for the first time in weeks.

Retail NZ said it would welcome the move, and urged businesses to start thinking about how they would offer services during Level 3 — such as click and collect.

READ: Commercial lease agreements, paying rent and more under lockdown

“Online trading, and the provision of click and collect services are a key means by which we can start getting things going again,” Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said in a statement.

“Retailers are now in a position where they can begin planning for a level 3 world, with greater clarity around what is permitted.”

While the announcement has been greeted with relief and positivity by New Zealanders, it’s still a far cry from a concrete announcement on when and how restrictions will begin easing.

“There are situations where a broader range of physical stores could be operated safely, but the Government has not yet moved to permit this to happen,” said Harford.

“Retail NZ will continue to be discussing these issues with the Government over the coming weeks.”

A decision on moving to Level 3 restrictions will come next week. Updates to come.

If your business has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures, MYOB strongly recommends consulting with an accredited accountant or other relevant business advisor before taking action. You can begin searching for a specialist advisor here.