With Omicron starting to spread in New Zealand and the country now in Red under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF), Thursday 27 January was quieter than usual in Nelson for a midsummer day.
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese stopped in at cafes and shops in the City Centre to see how local businesses were getting on. The consensus was that business had noticeably slowed.
Shoe Clinic owner/operator Brett Meehan said business had been quieter since the announcement of Omicron cases in the region.
“You can definitely tell people are a bit wary of venturing out. We’ve started taking some extra precautions to reassure customers and reduce the chances of the virus spreading in the store.”
Brett and his team are now wearing N95 masks.
“I made the decision because we work in such close proximity with customers and have such a small team.
“If one of us gets sick, that puts a lot of extra strain on the others, and it can really be crippling to the business if we’re forced to close for extended periods of time again. We also want to ensure our customers feel safe when they visit the store.”
Mayor Reese said it was good to see business working to protect their staff and customers.
“Our community has responded well to the presence of COVID-19 in the region. We can’t let up on measures to keep people safe but it’s important to safely get on with our lives. “
“We’re open for business, and I encourage people to continue stopping by,” said Brett. “We just ask that everyone please continue to be patient and respectful as they have been when visiting. It’s been a very difficult two years, and we’re all doing the best we can.”
The Government currently has a three-phase approach for responding to Omicron. New Zealand is currently in Phase One, where we use the existing tools at our disposal to try to “stamp out” the virus in the community.
This means wearing masks at food and drink businesses, close-proximity businesses, and events and gatherings. Scanning in with the COVID-19 tracer app also helps officials stay ahead of the virus. For the latest info on the current community outbreak of COVID-19, testing centres, and vaccination bookings, visit the Nelson Marlborough Health website at https://www.nmdhb.govt.nz/.