Devastated cafe owner says business not eligible for COVID financial support despite ‘bleeding and hemorrhagic’ money

Payouts are capped at 50 employees or $24,000.

Reid employs 26 staff members at his three cafes – six of whom are currently off work due to close contact with COVID-19 cases. She said they would be forced to shut down if they lost any more staff.

“Obviously we’re grateful for the package that’s come out but…we’re actually only 30% down at the moment so we can’t even qualify for that package anyway – but of course if all of our stores are closing, we’ll make it through, but that’s not the point here – we don’t want to close our stores just to get some help.”

Reid said his business was “bleeding and bleeding” money.

“It’s very, very difficult and I don’t really know what the future holds if we don’t get that extra support.”

Reid said his company’s current situation was the worst in the entire pandemic.

She calls on the government to scrap close contact rules – where people who come into contact with COVID-19 cases must self-isolate for seven days.

“It just ruins our personnel issues.”

Reid said the financial support could also have arrived much sooner.

His message to Finance Minister Grant Robertson? “You have made things quite difficult, so we are ready for additional support.”

Robertson hinted on Tuesday that New Zealand was close to moving into phase three of government Omicron Packagewhich will change the definition of close contacts to only people from the same household as a positive case.

“We said about 5,000 cases a day was where the trigger point would be,” Robertson said. “We know cases are doubling every three or four days.”

There were 2,846 COVID cases reported on Tuesday – including 1,802 in Auckland.

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