Few would have thought on 1 January that this brand new decade would quickly usher in huge pandemic and financial turmoil on a global scale.
Levels one, two, three and four were floors on an elevator, not restrictions on what we could do; and a bubble was the soapy substance kids created on the lawn blowing through a little plastic stick, not the group of people that you live with.
Devastatingly, lives have been tragically lost to a virus that we could never fathom 12 months ago would even exist.
If we think back to those New Year celebrations not even six months ago, it seems surreal how much our lives have changed, and we wonder if things will ever be ‘normal’ again or if we will have to build a brand new ‘normal’ from scratch.
We are coming up to the middle of the year now, and we have all suffered in one way or another – some more than others. There have been missed birthdays and anniversaries, and loved ones have passed away and we’ve been unable to say our goodbyes.
Our businesses have taken a beating, especially retail, hospitality and tourism. Some people have lost their jobs, others are uncertain about their job security and some businesses will struggle to get back to their feet.
The Government is pouring billions of dollars into our economy to stimulate growth and support those doing it tough – and good on them for doing what they can to get us going. Let’s hope we get our fair share of ‘shovel ready’ project monies for Mid Canterbury and that it works to help stimulate our district.
We at Council are closely watching our local economy. We have set up an Economic Recovery Advisory Group with some of the best in business heads in the district to help achieve this.
As hard as the current situation is for many, our district is relatively lucky compared with others. Our $2.2 billion local economy is heavily based around agriculture and this is fairing not too badly at the moment.
If your business is tourism-based, it will be much harder going to recover. Our focus here will be on domestic tourism, as there will be no or limited international tourists here for quite some time. Experience Mid Canterbury are working to support this.
Let’s not forget our local shops as well. I am encouraging everyone to shop local as much as possible. If you think you need to head to a mall in Christchurch, pause for a moment as ask yourself if any of those same products, services or experiences could be bought here instead. Perhaps some things may cost a little more locally, but is it worth it to ensure our money is helping local businesses survive and provide jobs?
Keep asking the questions, Mid Canterbury and let’s stay strong.