Covid 19 coronavirus: Fox Glacier and Franz Josef drowning, hundreds of jobs lost

It is grim findings for our glacier region in the days of Covid-19.

A new report looks at the pandemic effects of businesses in and around the towns of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef.

It found 518 jobs have been lost, while businesses still standing are only operating at 20 per cent normal capacity.

16 per cent of businesses are no longer running at all and 73 per cent have reduced staff.

Looking ahead it found 62 per cent indicated they will not survive the next six months without additional support.

The report has been released with a letter to the tourism minister, outlining the need for additional support.

Development West Coast chief Heath Milne said this is about more than just a financial boost for the area.

“That specific area has not only suffered probably the most [from Covid-19], but it’s put the whole community fabric at risk if something is not done,” Milne says.

He said the report is not just about supporting businesses looking for a handout.

“This is about the wider community. The impact of Covid on that community is more severe than arguably any other community in the country.”

Franz Josef operator Adam Haugh said turnover in his town – and Fox Glacier -is not high enough to maintain fixed costs and key infrastructure.

“Where we are now is we simply haven’t got the reserves to get through another winter without some partnership. In order to get past this obstacle we need to get access to some funds that we’ve invested in the country.”

Haugh said his town should be given assistance – given the impact they can have on the economy when tourists return.

“We’ve got the setup and we’ve got the infrastructure here to really make a difference as far as supporting the New Zealand economy – generate some tax revenue, pay off some debt. In order to get there, we need a partnership to get us through.”

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