Working in Level 4 lockdown

by Helen Martin

When we asked locals for their Level 4 lockdown work stories we received, as to be expected, a wide range of responses indicating that how you are faring depends very much on the kind of business you’re in.

For some people, like Kaukapakapa resident Sharon Hennessy, a home-based Auckland Council contact centre call operator, with the Council designated an essential service under lockdown it’s business as usual, but with a new focus. She and some of her fellow workers employed to take and direct calls for all Council operations have been redeployed to respond to calls for help during the pandemic. Their job is to determine how callers can best be supported, including with food support (provided through the government-funded, Council-coordinated food parcel scheme) and referral to other agencies for specific help.

With Fonterra also designated an essential service, local dairy and stock farmer Mike Daniel says lockdown is challenging in that, while the core task of supplying milk is unchanged, with farm business involving visits from people like the vet, the mechanic and the TB tester, there has to be meticulous planning for the required hygiene and social distancing practices required.

Just Cabins have provided much needed accommodation during lockdown

Just Cabins, a business providing mobile rental cabins for residential and business needs throughout New Zealand, saw the lockdown as an opportunity to make a difference to many people needing spaces and accommodation in a hurry, including those in our vulnerable communities. Nationwide, cabins have now been delivered to homeless shelters and retirement villages and rest homes, while general practices and regional primary health organisations have purchased them to serve as venues for Covid-19 testing stations, isolation areas and flu vaccinations. “It’s been a time of real worry for so many and we have felt it’s been a real privilege to be able to serve during this time of lockdown,” says Just Cabins Franchise Manager Mark Pellow.

Some closed businesses have been able to find online solutions to keep going. For example, David Baskeyfield writes “whilst we are unable to be physically open for hands-on treatment, we at Osteopathic Natural Health have responded with a robust and cutting edge “Telehealth” solution to offer remote advice, help and support to our patients. “

April is normally one of the busiest months for Kaipara Coast Plant Centre, so in lockdown David Bayly ran an online marketing campaign encouraging people to pre-order plants (with a very generous discount). As a result, he has spent a lot of time answering emails and sorting quotes and orders and there will be a carpark full of orders for contactless collections once restrictions are lifted. He says they have also been fortunate in being allowed several staff at work each day, so have been able to keep up with looking after their nursery plants over this period.

During lockdown, losing their restaurant customers persuaded the newly established

River Valley Meats owner Andy Cummings makes a home delivery

Kumeu-based business River Valley Meats to bring forward their long-term goal of supplying meat to the public.

After answering many questions about their safety processes and an MPI inspection they were given the go-ahead. Since then River Valley Meats have delivered meat to over 150 homes, with Facebook and word of mouth their only marketing platforms. “This has been great exposure for our new business, and more importantly, we are pleased to be able to supply quality cuts of meat in these extraordinary times when the supermarkets have struggled to keep up with demand,” say the owners, Helensville locals Andy and Wendy Cummings.

As we are all aware, many businesses have had to close. Guaranteed Shower Installations ask that customers with showers ordered or half installed get in touch by calling 0274505858 to discuss a plan for an installation date and time. They advise that, once we are in Level 3, they will be in the office to arrange bookings for installation dates. “Please note that if you are moving into a property that requires a shower installation… this would just require some discussion and planning. Please call or text us to see what we can do to help… Stay home, stay safe. We stand as one Aotearoa.”

Mike Stanton, who runs the Auckland-wide Parakai-based company Mobile Outboard Services from his home, has had no work under lockdown. He is looking forward to his business picking up under Level 3. “I’ll be able to tow in boats to my place for repair and maintenance, then drop them back off, as this would be contactless,” he says.

Losing your livelihood is painful, but most have complied with the government’s lockdown decision in the interests of bringing an end to the pandemic. Responding to our request for feedback from businesses Marie, who owns The Healing Heart of Helensville, spoke volumes when she said in her email “it’s reassuring that we are all keeping safe.”

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