Quentin Schofield’s family have started their own vegetable food garden, in case the coronavirus pandemic lasts for months: “No one really knows.”
The Wet & Wild charters operator does not feel afraid. “I know we are probably in the best place in the world to be away from the ongoing virus problem.”
However he is worried for some people on the island.
“I don't think the reality has quite set in for some that there will be no more tourist or income coming in to the island and everyone will have to start digging into their savings.
“It’s great to have some sort of package for employees, but there are many people that live from day to day, or week to week.
“And there are those who fish, farm and grow that contribute a big part to Aitutaki's growth, I wonder what will happen to them.”
Schofield says tourism is Aitutaki’s lifeline; without tourists, there is less or no work for everyone.
“We depend on tourists for our income that pays for, advertising, food, drinks, fuel, gas, power, maintenance supplies and the list goes on but that's not just for business, all the same applies for our personal needs as well.
“The airline misses out, the accommodation, the transporters, the land and sea tourist operators, the shop keeper, the restaurant owner, cafes and takeaways, fisherman and growers and all the employees it takes to make it all happen all miss out on something.”
Aitutaki has talked of getting together to start community/village gardens, “people are discussing various ideas.”
“If the people can get help, use machinery and free fuel to make it all happen, this would be great.
“Even fuel for fisherman to fish and supply to the locals; these are just some suggestions from the people”
Schofield hopes there will be enough money for people to purchase goods so it would still be viable for shop owners to continue to import, and he hope they can get some sort of shipping deal. .
His children are coping nicely and enjoying the outdoors.
“The kids are fine at the moment doing their chores, riding bikes, playing, fishing, and doing what kids; now the school holidays have started it is ok for the moment as it is still early days.
“In a couple of weeks we will have more of an idea, and I'm sure the kids along with myself and a lot of people on the island will start to feel the difference and reality will sink in for everyone.
“The one thing I do know is our people are very lucky to live on an island like Aitutaki and we will pull together and come out stronger on the other side.