23 March 2020 will go down in history as the day the Prime Minister took unprecedented action of giving notice of closure to most of New Zealand.
No matter where you are in the country, you will likely have felt uncertainty at this announcement. And if you’re in the realm of many small business owners, you’re not entirely sure exactly what you need to do next for your business.
Essential or Non Essential Business?
Mining the details of the internet is tough at any time, even harder when you’ve got a plethora of “experts” out there telling you different things. Luckily our Government put all the stuff you need to know immediately on one website, the official website www.covid19.govt.nz
During the PM’s announcement on March 23, she was very clear that Essential Services would continue. Non essential services would have to close, but we would have access to all of our essentials during this time; supermarkets for groceries, pharmacies for medication, fuel stations for fuel and multiple other services that are essential to maintaining an economy during a period of closure.
But, what About the Businesses that don’t have face to face?
Nothing is ever that clear really is it? One persons essential is certainly the not the same for someone else.
Retail is not essential, but online shopping doesn’t require face to face. They said face to face needed to close. What about the businesses that work from home? The ones that sell products from home? Can I trade? What about my staff? Can they come into the business if it’s just them working?
Breathe. Yes this is big and scary. Yes there is a lot of info to wade through. But things will become clearer over the next few days. Keep checking for updates on www.covid19.govt.nz and on the Ministry of Health website. If you’re industry registered then look to your official comms – they will be working furiously through the data to put out an accurate info pack relevant to you. All support businesses are working hard to help you through this. We’re all working to make sense of the information – just as Government is working as hard as it can to get the official information updated and onto all of the channels we demand access from.
Do me a favour. Don’t ask your friends on Facebook. Unless they are specialists, or they have the exact same circumstances as you then the answer probably won’t take every single thing into account and you could end up with the wrong answer.
Allow time for business support to assimilate the information and to be able to get the right answer for your situation.
On the eve of the 25th of March, my advice to you is this.
The support subsidies can be applied for tomorrow. Do what you need to do today, to get prepared for 4 weeks in lock down. If you’re not on the essential services list then you need to close your business premises so you should make sure it is ready to be closed for 4 weeks (food and drinks out of fridge. Make sure the freezer is on and closed. Clean what you can. Turn off the water.). Take your laptop and charger home and any essential work information you need to operate during this time. If your employees can be working from home then get what they need to do this and ask them to collect it from a safe spot that is a minimum 2-metre distance from you. Divert your phones. Ensure you can access your website for maintenance.
Breathe. Recognise that you may not be able to influence this part of your life but you have time ahead to plan for the recovery. Because you will need to have your response planned for when we come out the other side of this.
You might not have had sufficient time to get your risk prevention in place, but you can absolutely prepare your response and your recovery.
Not sure what comes next?
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