I never thought I would see a Bar Restaurant close because they were unable to open for business. Today I watched a local Bar Restaurant have all its chattels and fixtures and fittings removed and an empty shell closed. This will be one of many over the next few months.
The media have been quick to report on what the Government has been telling us as to the progress of Covid 19, but that is all they have done, “report”.
Where are the in-depth current affairs programs on either Channel 1 (State owned, so State controlled now?) or 3, our main television news communicators? Where are the political interviews and the in-depth discussions? And our newspapers seem to be awol.
The opportunity currently is available to make an outstanding career for a young journalist. Questions that go unanswered include the level of information made available to the NZ public as it relates to this Virus. Why were we told tens of thousands would die if lock down did not occur? Why were these figures not questioned either then or now? Where is the recovery program for the economy? When will our borders be likely to reopen to kickstart the tourism industry again? When will we be likely to travel internally again? What will level 2 look like and what controls will be attached?
If we are able to exit Level 3 on the 18th of May and enter level 2, then that will be 8 weeks from when the lockdown started on the 25th March.
In my last opinion piece, I commented on the need for Landlords and Tenants to get together to resolve their differences to enable each to survive. Since then, there has been little action. Stores remain closed and our retail industry in this country is on the verge of collapse. Does anybody really care?
When Level 4 lock down was determined and we were able to revert to Level 3, the nation applauded the efforts of the country in staying disciplined under the Level 4 regime, and further applauded the opportunity of being able to buy hamburgers again. Really? Is that what drives our nation, McDonalds and KFC?
The determination, both during lockdown and since, must surely be an energy to get our retail environment up and moving again. The book shops, hairdressers, cafés, restaurants, fashion stores, jewelers, gift shops, large format stores to name just a few, are bleeding to death whilst the country waits patiently for an announcement as to when Level 2 will be permitted.
The agony for these retailers is beyond acceptability. The pandemic had to be addressed and well done to the government for taking the action it did in a timely fashion. But surely the need for economic rehabilitation is urgently required with resuscitation essential if retail as we know it can survive.
I fear recovery for most will be very difficult. Closing for 7 – 8 weeks and the hope that consumers will return quickly to retail stores will be a bridge too far. More like my local restaurant bar will be forced to close.
The media needs to wake up to the real stories that exist in our communities. Real journalism can force decisions from government and others, and as a result maybe salvage something for retailers from what could be known as the year the retail industry collapsed.
Local Media highlights from the past week...
Accommodation providers in Taranaki are seeing signs that domestic tourism could help them recover from the devastation caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The Prime Minister has hinted the mass gathering limits currently written in the alert level 2 guidelines might be changed, and she predicts alert level 1 will last until a vaccine is found.
First-home buyers may be among the few groups to benefit from the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
House prices are set to drop in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, giving those hoping to get a foot on the property ladder a chance to get into the market.