Economy

Staff sought as Covid-19 gives boost to health businesses

As the economic effects of the Covid-19 virus spreads further into communities, the effects on businesses is wide and varied.

Companies reliant on tourism, directly or indirectly, including aviation and those in forestry are already feeling the pinch.

But others not so much.

The Green Cross Health Group includes 365 pharmacies and 41 medical centres nationwide.

Its chief financial officer Ben Doshi said not surprisingly there had been a lift in demand since the end of February.

''As kind of people come into pharmacies and are looking for some of the retail products like masks, sanitisers. tissue, wipes those sorts of things but also the category we call OTB, over the counter and that's the likes of your vitamin Cs, your cough and cold and your immunity boosters as well, so we have noticed that.''

He said there was pressure on the supply chain with products coming from overseas.

''We are having to broaden our supply base just to ensure we are meeting the demands of customers, so yes there are some pressures there and we are trying to work around those.''

Online grocery shopping and delivery is gaining in popularity.

The Countdown supermarket chain says while it will not give out sales data, its stores and online services are very busy and it's managing demand as best it can.

Kiri Hannifin from Countdown said the important message is there is plenty of food to go around, and there is no need to stockpile.

Probiotics company Blis, employs 24 people at its Dunedin base.

Its seen a lift in its immune boasting products.

''We are doing everything possible to increase our production and make our products available as a potential solution in these times.''

Brian Watson said the company was looking at employing more people and bringing in double-shifts to meet demand.

With more and more people working from home or contemplating it, the demand on technology is growing.

Craig Young from Tuanz, the telecommunications users association said data caps could pose a problem for people working online from home.

''Now we have as an organisation reached out to some of those companies and have suggested that in this time they might look to special circumstance of making those unlimited, so people do feel comfortable working at home and not worrying about whether they are going to hit their data limit.''

He said telcos were all incredibly busy trying to keep up with orders.

''And certainly talking to the fibre companies you can see that people are starting to realise that this is something they perhaps should have done. Remember that still at the moment those fibre installs are free and so are the fixed wireless installs and in most cases it's still subsidised by the government as well.''

Pre-prepared food box home deliveries has been a growing market for sometime, but since Covid-19 raised its ugly head, demand has increased from people not keen to go to the shops.

One company, Woop said there was been an increase in demand over the last two weeks.

Chief executive Thomas Dietz said he was hoping they can keep up with the demand.

''We have had to hire and are still hiring some new staff to cope with the demand but we have been able to secure our supply chain to make sure that we can cope with the demand.''

Thomas Dietz said they now have deliveries where the courier drops the food box at the door and then texts the homeowner that it is there.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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