Wellington businesses are urged to apply for financial assistance early, as alert level 4 kicked in today.
Along with the rest of the country, the capital was plunged into alert level 4 lockdown after a community case of Covid-19 was discovered in Auckland yesterday.
Lockdown means all non-essential businesses will close their doors for at least three days.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Nick Mills on Wellington Mornings, Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief executive Simon Arcus said the lockdown would be much tougher on businesses than the level 2 restrictions briefly imposed in June.
"When you're at level 4, you're under maximum restrictions on what you can do," he said.
"And you're depending a lot on what the government is going to come out with in terms of what they approve for essential workers and whether they'll allow freight to keep going."
During Wellington's six-day stint at alert level 2 in June, nearly 2000 businesses applied for the Covid-19 resurgence support payment, totalling more than $5 million.
Finance minister Grant Robinson said last night that the Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme would again be available for businesses affected by the lockdown.
"The Wage Subsidy Scheme is available nationally when there's a regional or national move to alert levels 3 and 4 for seven days and helps eligible businesses keep paying staff and protect jobs," he said.
The scheme allows eligible employers anywhere in the country to apply for support if they expect a loss of 40 per cent of revenue as a result of the alert level increase announced today.
Arcus said his main advice to businesses in the region was to seek assistance early – including the wage subsidy or the resurgence support payment.
"If you think you're going to hit that 40 per cent [loss of] revenue, get applying on Friday – don't wait for the seven days," he said.
He said it was great to see the Government providing clear information on the supports available.
On top of seeking support early, he asked businesses to be mindful of their mental wellbeing.
"The second thing is all the uncertainty for businesses and the pressure it puts on managers … just making sure all those good messages about wellbeing are out there.
"We are seeing some frustration about the lockdown."