With the coronavirus lockdown appearing to be working, I know many of you are already thinking, ‘Now what?’
Let me assure you that, despite still being in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Napier City Council has begun to develop its Napier City Recovery Plan.
Our plan will focus on the key issues facing our city during the pandemic recovery period and how we can complement government initiatives at the local level. We will also engage regionally with other Hawke’s Bay local authorities and organisations, in recognition of how closely linked our economies are.
However, our Council’s main focus is on getting your Napier back on its feet. Our approach is broadly described in the diagram that follows.
Covid-19 is a very different emergency to what we have faced in the past. You and I won’t know the full scale and consequences of the pandemic for some time. While health has clearly been at the top of our minds, the most significant consequences will be social and economic. This will require an all of government, coordinated focus.
Within that, your Council will do its bit to help our community access government support.
However, the reality is that we all have a responsibility in helping Napier recover. In order to understand the consequences for our community, it is crucial for Napier people and businesses to understand and assess how you are going to operate once coming out of lockdown. If we all think about this and understand what help we need, then individual recovery will be so much more advanced and Council will be better able to point people to the right agency to get help.
I’m sure we all realise that Napier will face unique challenges as a tourist city. Around 20% of our residents are employed in the retail, accommodation and food services sectors. These are directly impacted by the huge decline in tourism and by restrictions on trade during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.
A further 5% of residents are employed in the transport and warehousing sector which will also continue to be affected by travel restrictions in the short to medium term. I know first-hand that much of Napier’s economy is reliant on small to medium-sized businesses that will be feeling the effects of continuing costs with significantly reduced income. Other big contributors to Napier’s economy such as manufacturing and construction may also be impacted as consumers seek to cut costs.
We will release the first stage of the Napier City Recovery Planin two to three weeks; it will focus in adjusting to a likely Alert Level 3 scenario.
In the meantime, I encourage all businesses and households to make a plan for the immediate post-lockdown period, and also for the medium to long term. The Hawke’s Bay Business Hub is providing professional advice – check out https://www.hbbusinesshub.nz/response/covid19-1.
I also encourage our community to support local businesses where possible, so that together we can recover from the impacts of Covid-19.