COVID-19 hits New Zealand’s sports, music, wedding events: statistics

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WELLINGTON, March 25 (Xinhua) — Businesses running sports competitions, concerts, weddings and other big events were among the hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, New Zealand’s statistics department Stats NZ said on Thursday.

The sector, known as arts and recreation services, faced limits on crowd sizes and social distancing because of COVID-19, forcing the cancellation of large gatherings. Almost all businesses in these fields were unable to operate fully during COVID-19 alert levels 3 and 4, and only a small number were partly operational.

“Similarly, businesses running hotels, motels, and other accommodation, as well as restaurants, bars, cafes, and other food service providers, struggled with the COVID-19 shutdown and related impacts on tourism,” business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said in a statement.

Of firms across all industries, only one in five remained fully operational during alert level 4. In general, businesses with more employees were more likely to remain fully operational during all alert levels in 2020, Duoba said.

Many businesses changed the way they ran their operations to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19. Almost one in five businesses reduced the range of goods and services they offered, she said.

Almost half of all businesses increased or introduced online communication. Four out of five businesses made changes to the physical environment to meet social distancing requirements. Over half of all businesses supported their staff to work remotely. Almost one-quarter of businesses increased or adopted online selling of goods and services, she added.

The business operations survey reports on businesses with six or more employees from August to December 2020 about how they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to Stats NZ.

Meanwhile, three out of four firms received COVID-19 related financial support from the government in 2020, Stats NZ said.

“Government assistance offered during COVID-19 restrictions, including wage subsidies and business loans, was one of the key things businesses used to help stay afloat last year,” Duoba said. Enditem

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