metropol » COVID


Lockdown lowdown: Earth Organic Hairdressing

Packet dyes were flying off the shelf and home-cut fringes and bangs were in full swing during lockdown. So, we caught up with Traci Aylmer, from Earth Organic Hairdressing, to talk to her about how COVID affected them.



How has the team worked together during and after lockdown?
We have a work group chat ‘Earth Matters’ and we use this regularly anyway to keep in touch. During lockdown we shared recipes, what we were doing that day, TV inspo etc. It was good because we could still talk about how we were all feeling, which changed on a daily basis. When you spend so much time together you really miss those connections. We had a couple of video staff meetings which were hilarious, none of us are comfy in front of a camera and we dealt with this in a typically fun way. I also built an online store, That was a challenge and totally out of my comfort zone.

What have the clients been like post lockdown? Did you find you were significantly busier?
Our clients are totally awesome! They have been patient, kind and incredibly loyal. We haven’t had many box dyes or mad fringes.
I stayed in touch with our clients throughout lockdown and I think this helped. Hopefully, they felt cared about. Our landlords at 181 High Street were also incredibly kind which lessened the stress. We have been booked out since we opened and are booked way into July.

Is there anything exciting to announce/coming up for Team Earth?
Lots of exciting cutting/colouring courses and EVO is coming to Earth…. very exciting.


Helping Hospo

You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the country’s hospitality operators as we moved into Alert Level 1. Gathering restrictions have been removed and all current COVID-19 rules on businesses and services have lifted.



The move to Level 1 means that many hospitality operators can now begin to reclaim a sense of normality and this will provide customers the much-needed confidence to go out and safely socialise (and spend) again.

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Julie White, says our team of five million should be proud of the significant achievement we’ve made in getting to no active COVID-19 cases.

“The hospitality sector has also shown incredible resilience throughout this difficult time banding together to ensure that the health and safety of our communities remains paramount,” she says.

“They’ve been forced to adapt to different ways of operating as each level has decreased, and the restrictions that hospitality operators (and their customers) have had to wrestle with have been incredibly challenging – so, we’re very excited to be getting back to business.”

Hospitality New Zealand expects that with restrictions such as social distancing and table service restraints lifted, businesses in the hospitality and accommodation sectors will start to recover and slowly return, over time, to profitability.

While some accommodation providers and leisure hotspots saw a return to normal visitor and occupancy levels over Queen’s Birthday weekend, the following day’s return saw a huge dip – with a mere five percent occupancy rate in the accommodation sector, demonstrating the long road ahead to recovery.

The full year forecast predicts 30 percent occupancy (at best) for accommodation and hotel providers.

Similarly, the challenges of COVID-19 have also led to a 30 percent reduction in employment across the hospitality sector.

While the recently announced changes to the Wage Subsidy extension is expected to assist an additional 40,000 businesses across the country, this alone won’t be enough to save many operators, Julie says.

If you’re financially able to, perhaps it’s time to consider taking a domestic ‘Staycation’ (booked through a local travel agent, of course!), heading out for a much-needed date night at a local restaurant and grabbing some gift vouchers from your favourite venues so you can share the love!

“The hospitality sector relies on people – tourists, office workers, social gatherings and foot traffic,” Julie says.

“With Kiwis now encouraged to go back to their workplaces, this presents a huge opportunity for people to support their local hospitality businesses.

“As a nation, we’ve shown solidarity and performed incredibly well to fight this health crisis.

With the transition to Level 1, we can all step up and play our part in supporting the full recovery of Kiwi businesses which have been hit so hard.”


COVID’s impact on business

More than 63 percent of respondents to a recent survey of Canterbury businesses are reporting significant financial impacts from COVID-19. More than 21 percent are citing moderate impact, with more than 7 percent citing minor impact.


The data was gathered as part of a survey distributed to local businesses last month, during Alert Level 3, by The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and ChristchurchNZ.

Looking forward three months, 60 percent of businesses still felt that the cashflow impact will be profound.

Staff numbers too will be affected, with around 30 percent of businesses believing their staffing numbers would have a significant negative impact of more than 25 percent.

Exporters remain more optimistic, with 46 percent responding that there will be no effect on their sales, while 30 percent think the negative effect will be more than 25 percent.

The survey shows that smaller businesses have been more impacted by loss of customers and increased costs, while larger ones have been impacted by supply chain.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the results of this survey demonstrate the changing impact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All business segments have been affected by cashflow issues.

We have engaged with over 2000 businesses over the last two months through our COVID-19 helpline and over email and 6,000 businesses in on our webinars, and the survey results reinforce what we are seeing – namely the very real need for continued targeted financial support and the need for HR as we continue to see increased needs around support with restructuring, redundancy and resizing for businesses.”


The Influencers: Marian Johnson



Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

I recently took part in a discussion with NZ innovation community leaders where everyone shared their thoughts on what made New Zealand a uniquely innovative country poised to thrive and lead in a post-COVID world.

I came to New Zealand 12 years ago having married a young Kiwi on his OE in London.

Like so many Kiwis, as soon as it was time for family, Mr. J was ready to come home.

When I first got here, I knew that NZ was beautiful but I had no idea at all that it was a political and social innovator.

Establishing the women’s right to vote, an eight-hour work day and state-funded pensions are all early symbols of this progressive nature.

Another superpower is our size. If NYC and London have six-degrees of separation, New Zealand has one.

The ease of collaborating and doing business here allows us to work nimbly and adaptively. This is a huge advantage.

In terms of values, Kiwis seem to prize equality above all social values.

Our startups aren’t aiming to be the newest Silicon Valley either.

I believe that our equality edge will guide our startups to create innovation that is good for the world not just good for shareholders.

And there’s no better time than the present when our geographical isolation – in a world of Zoom calls and online investment pitches – is almost negligible.

NZ based high growth startups and innovators, your time is now.


Taking care of you: CHCH Immigration Health

In the wake of this pandemic, it’s smart to seek out information from trusted health professionals. It can be easy to fall into the trap of listening to all of the media reports as they are coming to light, rather than waiting for all of the information to become available.



The team at Christchurch Immigration Health is offering Immigration medicals.

So, if this applies to you, the office is conveniently located in St George’s Hospital with excellent facilities and parking close to Merivale coffee shops and mall.

The team can cater to individuals, families and businesses, with the capacity to schedule your medical examination quickly, with the results ready and emailed to you, usually within 48 hours.

Christchurch Immigration Health General Practitioner Lisa Amin explains how to move forward in these uncertain times.

“Although we are hoping to run our clinics as per normal, please inform us if you have been symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or may have come into contact with a COVID-19 case. This will enable us to decide on when would be a suitable time for your appointment.

“Our top priority is to keep everyone safe, so please bear with us. We are looking forward to seeing our clients again.”

If you are unsure about whether you’re at risk or how to proceed, please phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800 358 545 or visit for the latest guidelines.

Find Christchurch Immigration Health at 249 Papanui Road, phone 021 334 110.