While many non-essential businesses in Whanganui are feeling the pinch after being forced to close for the Covid-19 lockdown, some owners are saying the Government's wage subsidy initiative is helping keep them afloat and staff employed.
Fulltime workers are allocated $585 per week, with part-time employees receiving $350 per week.
Data on how much has been paid out to Whanganui businesses is not yet available but the Government said on Tuesday that $6.6 billion in subsidies had so far been approved, with more than one million workers' wages being supplemented by the initiative.
Owner of Mindzeye Fashions, Sara Fredrickson, said the subsidy would help keep " the business afloat" during the lockdown period but, once businesses can re-open, "it's going to be a long, slow, climb back to the way it was".
"I knew pretty fast that we would be classed as non-essential, and business had been slowing down pretty substantially before the lockdown was announced," Fredrickson said.
"I applied for the subsidy on the Sunday beforehand, and the money came through on the Thursday, which was a massive relief."
Fredrickson said that Mindzeye will be able to "juggle costs" through the lockdown, and that the wage subsidy was crucial in being able to keep staff employed.
"A lot of places would have to shut their doors completely without the wage subsidy, and we're really lucky to have access to it.
"It's good to be able to have something to come back to, but it's going to be a long, slow, climb back to the way it was.
"Buy local, support local, and we can get Whanganui back up and running again."
Stacey Jones runs "one woman company" Kearose, which makes candles, reed diffusers and soaps.
She said her studio is currently was "chockablock" with products that are unable to be shipped to suppliers and shops, as they are also shut for the duration of the lockdown.
"I managed to get the subsidy really fast," Jones said.
"It was only around three working days between the application and receiving it."
Jones said she was lucky that the majority of the work at Kearose was carried out by herself, and her overheads "weren't horrific".
"I'm not sending out invoices or receiving any income at all, so this subsidy has really saved the day."
Jones said she'd been working on a new line of vegan products for the past eight months, and hoped to be able to sell them online as soon as the level 4 lockdown had been lifted.
"Surely people are going to need a nice wash after all this is over, and why not use some locally made, locally owned products?"
Sourbros Bakery on Ingestre Street has also shut its doors, although co-owner Matt Ellingham said there was "a bit of confusion" over whether bakeries were listed as essential services or not.
"There was a bit of mixed messaging at the start of all of this," Ellingham said.
"Initially I got an email from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment saying that we had the all-clear and we got verbal confirmation that we could carry on with modified processes and online delivery operations.
"The following day I got another email saying we'd been given the wrong information and we needed to stop immediately.
"Now it looks like we could have potentially opened again but, to do everything by the book and ethically, I think the task is just too great."
Wage subsidies cover Sourbros' four staff members, and Ellingham said "the whole aim" of the business was to "look after everyone and do things the right way".
"We're really lucky in this country to have this (wage subsidy initiative) available, because other countries around the world don't have the same things and businesses are being forced to close left, right and centre.
"We're making sure to keep track of all our costs, and where all the Government money is going.
"The whole thing is being done on an honesty-type system, that's why its been set up so quickly, and we want to be as honest as possible, too.
"That's exactly why we set up this business to start with."