The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) is urging Christchurch businesses not to make hasty decisions about closing down permanently.

Canterbury CTU spokesman Marty Braithwaite said today a number of employers whose business premises had been destroyed or damaged by the earthquake had told staff they would close permanently.

He said those decisions should be delayed.

"The Government's emergency wage subsidy payments and the support programme for employers will allow employers the time to assess their situations and make future plans on a fully informed basis," he said.

"We are already aware of employers who decided, in the wake of the earthquake, to abandon businesses but have had time to reassess and have now determined that they will be able to continue to operate, albeit in a changed manner."

Braithwaite said that in the next few days Civil Defence would allow many business owners access to damaged premises to retrieve important equipment like computers and files, and in the coming weeks more information would become available.

"While there will be a premium demand for premises, there are areas in the city which are operational and many businesses will continue to operate," he said.