As much of the country moved to COVID-19 Level 3, many Kāpiti businesses opened their doors again in a contactless way – but whether or not customers choose to prioritise supporting local companies in Levels 3 and then 2, may make a huge difference to their future survival.

A recent survey of local businesses in its membership by the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce found that all respondents would open in Level 3, albeit in a reduced capacity.

They included retailers, professional service businesses, industrial manufacturers and IT businesses across the district.

Bede Laracy, employment advocate and owner of retail business Paper Doll, says everyone will be experiencing the lockdowns differently.

“In some respects there has been a sense of having been here before, and that brings positives as well as negatives,” he says.

“The lead up to this lockdown was short, and I spoke to a number of people who would be working through Level 4 who felt the looming pressure.

“Retailers like us have the daunting reality of closed doors, which means no revenue and that creates real pressure as most of the bills don’t stop rolling in,”

With the beginning of Level 3, businesses could operate in reduced capacity, with contactless services, which would provide relief, Bede says. However he is concerned some business owners may be expecting a boom in sales, as happened after the last lockdown.

“I’m sure Kāpiti will come through well, but we can’t take our local customers for granted,” Bede says.

“We all need to share the simple idea of ‘loving local and supporting our local businesses”.

Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce Co-Chair, Jacinda Thorn, says while the last few weeks have been difficult, the safety and wellbeing of our community is important for long-term economic health.

“The sooner we can get on top of the outbreak, the faster we can return to ‘normal’ – even if that’s a COVID normal. I want to urge everyone to get out there this week and show their support for our amazing local businesses,” Jacinda says.

Businesses that responded to the Chamber survey saying they would open in Level 3 included food and drink producers Koakoa and 5036 Boutique Brews, retailers Paperdoll and Absolute Gifts and professional service businesses Annie Romanos Coaching, Leith Consulting, Wakefields Lawyers, Mike Pero Mortgages Kāpiti, Agar Fenwick Ltd, YOURTravel&Tours, Tracey Jones Insurance, Kennedy and Associates Accountants, Kauri Immigration, AD Architecture, Star People, Kapiti Law, Kapiti Business

Projects, Ascension Dynamics and The Print Room. Industry and IT businesses Steel-It Framing and GTB IT Solutions also indicated they would open.