ILT impacted by Covid-19 lockdown

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THE flow-on effects of the financial impact of Covid-19 on licensing trusts has been varied in Southland.

Both ILT and Mataura Licensing Trust have felt the economic impact of lockdown on their businesses, with 87 of 606 employees to be made redundant by ILT.

Chief executive Chris Ramsay said the business, which operated more than 20 hospitality businesses, was unable to keep all its staff in the changed economic environment. With recovery predicted to be long, commercial sustainability of the organisation was paramount.

While the situation was challenging, staff and team managers worked through the consultation period with the “highest degree of professionalism which speaks volumes about the calibre of people involved”, he said.

Mataura Licensing Trust (MLT), which managed 13 businesses in Eastern Southland, was also feeling the sting of Covid-19.

MLT general manager Mark Paterson said there would be no staff redundancies, but it had pulled out of an historic arrangement with Gore District Council to cover 25% of any yearly operational loss of the MLT Event Centre.

In a letter to Gore District Council chief executive Stephen Parry, Mr Paterson said the trust was “entrenched in survival mode”.

“It is our fiscal responsibility to the community that we survive to fight another day which means we cannot have the uncertainty of the loss that the event centre will incur in the forthcoming year. In all honesty 25% of the loss over the next year could cripple us.”

To cover the shortfall Gore district councillors considered a further 0.2% rates increase to 2.84% at an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday.

MLT employed about 170 people “at full muster”, and staff had been paid in full with the aid of the wage subsidy.

Mr Paterson said even though it was running all operations, it would take a while for things to “get back up to speed”.

“It’s tight but we’ll definitely survive and live to fight another day.”

All MLT funding applications had been suspended.

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