Burt says people can return to their offices if safe to do so
Employees have been encouraged to return to their offices rather than work from home in a bid to boost the economy.
David Burt, the Premier, spoke out after Hamilton restaurants, coffee shops and stores reported a dip in daytime trade – fuelled in part by fewer people travelling into the city to work.
He said: “We certainly have to support our local economy, and I know that offices have responded and people are going more and more back to work.
“But it is a delicate balance. I’m pleased that many businesses are doing their part in holding firm, but I also want to ensure that we are all doing our jobs in supporting our local business.”
Mr Burt was speaking last night after he announced the reintroduction of a curfew in the wake of a feared spike in Covid-19 cases.
He highlighted that retail sales had been “trending upwards” over the last six months.
Mr Burt said: “That’s good news – that means that people are supporting our local economy.
“But I recognise the challenges that are there. It’s a very, very difficult balancing act.
“So, for employers that want to welcome their staff back to their offices – as long as they’ve followed the public health guidance – they are welcome to do so.”
“We’re not mandating or pushing or promoting remote work.”
Kim Wilson, the health minister, backed Mr Burt.
She said: “If persons are allowed to return to work and they have proper ventilation, and physical distancing is maintained, by all means they can continue working within their work space.”
Mr Burt also revealed that bars and clubs will get a discounted liquor licence fees this year.
Licensed premises have had to slash customer numbers and shut early because of coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Burt said: “This Government is mindful of the pains and challenges put on businesses.
“And so, just like we did with taxi licences, the support which we’ve offered has been generous and we will continue to offer that generous support.
“It is what Is necessary for us to do.”
He said details of the break on liquor licence charges would be announced later.