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Lockdown increases strain on already challenged business events industry

Business Events Industry Aotearoa has backed the Government's decision to enter Level 4 lockdown, cautioning the already hard-hit industry is in for another long wave of disruption.

At Levels 4 and 3, all venues are closed, and only virtual business events can operate on digital platforms.

BEIA chief executive, Lisa Hopkins says short, sharp lockdowns have proven to work for the country.

“But we must be prepared once again for a period of disruption for our industry.

“Even when restrictions lift, our sector is too idiosyncratic and cannot simply switch on like other industries. Significant lead time is required to book, plan, and deliver business events, which is why industry specific support for our sector is required into 2022,” she says.

The association is strongly encouraging its members to talk to their customers and suppliers if they have an event planned and consider back-up plans.

“Experience tells us the Government does not skip an alert level, so expect Alert Level 3 will follow for periods as yet unknown. We know from our Australian colleagues, how devastating this particular variant can be,” Lisa says.

“This is where event insurance would have played such an important role in supporting our sector. BEIA, in conjunction with our insurance partner Eventcover presented a proposal to officials, requesting support to cover the premium. We would have been the only country in the world with some sort of insurance for events disrupted due to COVID.

“This would have been crucial weapon in our anti-COVID toolkit, along with vaccination, to restore confidence, keeping a pipeline of events in view and supporting businesses retain key and highly skilled staff. However, this is now likely in doubt.”

The association has a clear message for the Government.

“The Government has our 100 per cent backing for the current actions, but we will be looking to have further dialogue when we are back in Level 1, to identify ways that we can ensure a sustainable industry and restore confidence which plunges after every lockdown.”

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