Below level two, businesses can be opened and people can socialize at a maximum of 100 people. Below level three, people must stay at home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement – including going to work, school if necessary, or for local recreation. Businesses cannot offer services that involve close personal contact, except for essential services.
“It is the service sector – especially hospitality and events – that bears the biggest impact, even if contactless sales allow some places to be opened during people’s free time,” the bank said in a statement.
“But we can say with certainty that the impact is negative. In particular, for some businesses, this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, ”he said.
The bank said a “realistic best case scenario” was that Auckland would drop to level two next weekend and the rest of the country to level one.
“The worst-case scenario cannot stand reflection,” said the bank.
“For some businesses, this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
Nick Tuffley, chief economist, ASB
Westpac said a higher level of vigilance would impact many businesses, but predicted they would “have little impact on the overall economic outlook”.
“A lot of individual businesses will find this difficult, but the big lesson from last year’s economic data is that levels 3 and 2 have little impact on overall economic activity,” he said.
“The reason is that a large part of the economic activity that was ‘lost’ during the lockdown will be replaced soon after.”
Westpac said the warning was unlikely to change its economic forecast “unless the warning level is raised further or extended further”.
BusinessNZ and the Trade Union Council issued a rare joint statement on Monday calling for the “workplace” to step up their response to the outbreak.
BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said it was critical that anyone who had been identified as a COVID-19 contact stayed away from work and was isolated.
CTU President Richard Wagstaff said there shouldn’t be any harm or punishment for protecting others from COVID-19.
But Ardern and ACT leader David Seymour have raised concerns that the strict fine regime could prevent people from coming forward to get tests or discussing their moves with contact tracers.
No new community cases were announced on Monday, when officials said 21 close MIT contacts had been identified. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 67, including in international travelers who are under quarantine. The total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is in 2022 as of Monday.
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