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Looking forwards . . . Esplanade Motels owners Gillian and Jack Cooper hope to welcome more guests as normality returns.

Accommodation providers in Gore are starting to see an upturn in business under Covid-19 Alert Level 2 after struggling with a lack of people under Levels 4 and 3.

Esplanade Motels owner Gillian Cooper said that numbers were very low during Level 4 and 3.

“We had a couple of essential workers and people who were self-isolating,” Mrs Cooper said.

“We’ve been very quiet in Level 2 but people are starting to make tentative bookings.

They were currently at 20% capacity.

“Usually we would be at 100% capacity with the dog trials and the Gold Guitars.”

“We are hopeful things will pick up.

“Hopefully people do decide to visit this nice small town”.

Representatives travelling for work would still be needing accommodation, she said.

The Reservation Bed and Breakfast owner Jayne Moffatt said a feeling of normality was returning.

“We had a record February and we were on track for a record March,” Mrs Moffatt said.

“It was disheartening to get that stream of cancellations.”

The bed and breakfast’s four rooms had been empty during Level 4.

During Level 3 one essential worker was staying.

No guests were staying at present but there was a booking for next week.

“A couple is moving to Gore. They are staying for up to two weeks.

“We have some regular customers that will be coming back through.”

The Reservation usually got 60% of its business from international travellers.

Oakleigh Motel owner Chris Hall said she was feeling positive about the future.

“We should be all right,” Mrs Hall said.

The motel’s biggest client base was travelling business workers.

Although the motel was usually fully booked for the Gold Guitars, tourism was not vital.

“We’re not a tourist town.”

Business was down more than 70% from what would usually be expected at this time of year.

“We had one essential worker staying in Level 4.

“Level 3 was basically the same.

“Now in Level 2 reps are starting to come through,” Mrs Hall said.

Riverlea Motel owner Tony Bower said he had been trying to make the most of the lull.

“We’ve been really badly affected,” Mr Bower said.

“We’re making the most of it we’re doing refurbishments.”

The refurbishment included fresh paint and new carpets.

The motel had 10 units and he planned to have another 10 built over winter.

“It’ll be a long, slow recovery but it’ll pay off.

“Some bookings are starting to come through again.”

Gore A&P Showgrounds campsite caretaker Bevin Roy said it was too early to gauge the effect of the pandemic.

“Three lots of people arrived just before lockdown and stayed,” Mr Roy said.

“Two left when we went into Level 2.”

They were tourists travelling the South in campervans.

“We could only take those that were fully self-contained units.”

Another three lots of people were already staying at the site.

“Usually at this time of year we’d have eight-10 per night and now we’re down to four.

“We won’t be greatly affected until October-November we’ll know.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of the hurt economically.”

The majority of people who stayed at the site were Kiwis, he said.