A Rotorua activity and event company's future changed in just 24 hours from what looked like a promising year ahead to "absolutely nothing" after Covid-19 put the country in lockdown.
These were the toughest times Activities and Events Unlimited owner Ian Mexted-Dykes had faced but he has applauded the government's latest move in helping small businesses survive.
"We are all hurting," he said.
The Government announced the major financial support package for businesses affected a day before the country lurched into alert level 4 lockdown on Wednesday.
The $6.25b Business Finance Guarantee Scheme will include a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for impacted SME customers.
Struggling employers can also apply for $585 a week for each full-time worker for up to 12 weeks as part of the government's $9.3b wage subsidy scheme.
Mexted-Dykes had already taken advantage of the wage subsidy that allowed him to keep two fulltime and one part-time worker employed and said he welcomed any move by the government that would help small businesses ''ride out the tide''.
He said his business went to ''zilch'' when customers cancelled their forward bookings.
''We had all these bookings and the whole year was looking promising. And then 24 hours later, we had absolutely nothing, nothing at all. Our industry relies on people getting together and as soon as you stop people getting together, that's it.''
In all of his 27 years in business, these were the toughest times Mexted-Dykes had faced, however, he was trying to remain positive. Luckily, he was working to a six-month plan and did not feel alone.
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''We are all hurting ... The consoling part of this is that, it's not just you, you know what I mean. Everyone in the world, not just in New Zealand is suffering," he said.
''There are some amazing businesses out there that are well run. You know, they look after this staff. They do everything right. You wouldn't believe the whole world could be brought to its knees by a little bug.''
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said people would need different types of assistance and it was good to see the government developing a range of packages that could be targeted to those who needed it most.
"Individuals and businesses should be ensuring they access whatever assistance is available for them and their situation."
Rotorua Economic Development chief executive Michelle Templer said local businesses were hoping to apply for as many of the government's support options as possible.
''Loans, employee subsidies, tax changes and other tools will all play an important role in supporting businesses through this challenging period.''
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard had not had a chance to study the package in detail but said the government was doing a great job in supporting Bay businesses.
"They are doing their best to keep us ahead of the game and to keep as much businesses running as we can.
"Rotorua is particularly hard hit because it is a tourist town. But I think others are catching up quite quickly."
Heard said the organisation was working collaboratively with other chambers across the region, including Tauranga and eastern Bay of Plenty, by expanding their resources to help businesses affected by Covid-19.
An additional $4m of funding has been provided by the Government to the Regional Business Partnership Network (RBP) nationwide.
The Bay of Plenty region received funding for an additional three full-time Growth Advisors to support businesses, boosting the existing four advisors already working here.
Heard said the lockdown would hopefully revitalise some values into people as to what was really important.
"We have been taught a lesson by mother nature about our formal ways. We have been forced to change our behaviours in the long run it might be a better place," he said.
"Business and economy is important, but family first."
Rotorua Budget Advisory Service manager Pakanui Tuhura advised people to keep an eye on what the Government was offering in terms of financial relief, including the mortgage holidays and wage subsidies.
"If you feel your employer hasn't applied for the wage subsidy, be proactive and contact your lawyer.
"Good luck through this period."
Tuhura said the company had closed its doors but budget advisers would be working from home and contactable by phone and email but they would be limited services during the lockdown.
* Rotorua Economic Development has team of business development experts who are working to help businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
* On a confidential, case-by-case basis these include:
·Helping to navigate access to the Government relief package, including the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme
. Connecting businesses with other resources and advisors to try and mitigate the impact of Covid-19
. Helping businesses with employer to employer connections to try and redeploy staff
Business Finance Guarantee Scheme
- $6.25 billion
- Provide short-term credit to cushion the financial distress on solvent small and medium-sized firms affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
- It will include a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been affected.
- A limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years.
- The Government will carry 80 per cent of the credit risk, with the other 20 per cent to be carried by the banks.