A message from the Raglan Chamber

It is clear coming into summer the country will be finding a new normal, and people of New Zealand – including Raglan – will see changes to the way we live. 

Local businesses are facing tough decisions. Your local owners/operators are all financially and personally invested in this community, and we care about its people. Right now, there are no easy answers or choices. Our decisions will impact our staff, customers, and community no matter what we choose. 

I ask that you be patient with business owners in Raglan, while we navigate some tough decisions. 

The Covid-19 Protection Framework or ‘Traffic Light System’ is designed to give Kiwis more freedom and no more lockdowns. The reality is the traffic light system will potentially exclude unvaccinated people from businesses such as mine, a hospitality venue. 

The government announced that we are moving to the Traffic Light System at 11.59pm on 2 December. The indications are that no region in the country will be moving to ‘Green’.

With no industry guidelines or legislation businesses have seven days to make decisions that will directly affect our customers and staff. We can enter the Vaccination Certificate system to provide another layer of protection for our staff, customers and livelihood or we can ‘opt-out’. If we opt-out we face trading restrictions.

I have been to several Zoom meetings with hospitality owners and operators around New Zealand and we all agree: we want to keep our staff and customers safe but excluding customers does not sit well with any of us. We are in this business because we love to host guests, most of them loyal, valued customers. We consider many to be friends. To exclude people and check customers at the door goes against the nature of our business. 

We know a lot of businesses that opt-in are going to lose valued, experienced staff as they choose not to be vaccinated. This is devastating for us personally as business owners, but also for the industry, as we face a nationwide employee shortage in all fields of hospitality. 

The alternative is to be forced to contactless at ‘Orange/Red’ levels. We all know from October’s Level 3 that this means a significant hit to income. The Government has indicated there will be no financial support for businesses that opt out. Taking only 5-20% of our ‘normal’ income without financial support means we may not be able to pay our rent or keep a full quota of staff on – we take the risk of financial ruin. 

All of the businesses I have spoken to are most worried about their staff – we all employ people who are embedded into the local community. Just a glance around Raglan – noting how many small businesses there are in town makes you realise how many individuals and families living in Raglan are connected to – and reliant on – these businesses surviving. 

It is more than just the staff dependent on our businesses surviving – and thriving. It is the small businesses that supply our goods and services, our contractors, our landlords and other businesses in town that provide services for the community. We all lose when even a single business goes under. 

In Raglan most of our businesses are small independents, owned by families. A kind word, choosing local, buying your Christmas gifts with us – your support will make a big difference to your local retailers this summer. 

The Raglan Business Chamber is running a series of events to help support local businesses – join us for the ‘Keeping Your Business Safe’ security presentation on 9 December and watch the RBC updates for more events before summer. Contact us at www.RaglanChamber.co.nz

Ngā Mihi

Lisa James, Vice-Chair, 

Raglan Business Chamber Board