Coronavirus fallout: Cafes close, Jucy rental company says jobs to go, foodbank swamped

Economists predict 67,000 New Zealanders will see a dent in their income and thousands more will lose their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adding pressure to the welfare system.

Tim Alpe, co-founder and chief executive of rental vehicle company Jucy, doesn't want to let his staff go but says he has no choice.

In an interview with Newshub, he says he saw his customers disappear almost overnight after border restrictions were introduced.

"Business has come to a grinding halt," he says.

"We've got over 400 crew, so we're in consultation with 60 of them, it's going to be a lot more unfortunately. It's going to have to be a lot more."

It's not just the tourism industry feeling the pain.

Cafe chain Goodness Gracious was serving coffee and bagels on Sunday for what might be the last time ever.

Owner Greg Cornes says he is shutting his three Auckland cafes to keep his community and 20 staff safe.

"I am possibly going to lose everything - three businesses, a house, family security. The same thing as everybody else."

Cornes has penned a letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, urging her to close all non-essential businesses, schools and universities to stop the spread of the virus.

International flights are grounded, leaving 400 New Zealand-based pilots without work.

Pilot Andy has been flying planes since he was 15 - but now his future is uncertain.

Newshub can't tell you who he works for because the Australian-owned airline wouldn't allow that - but they've cut his pay in half.

"It's not tidy, I mean you cut income from any Kiwi family... what we were used to last week, that's not going to last."

His six-year-old son Van is worried about his family's future.

"We won't have enough money to buy food and we might have to sell our house."

The Love Soup foodbank in Auckland has already seen a surge in demand.

It's preparing to feed 150 people tonight - around three times their usual number.

"With the way things are looking, I'm expecting that it could double, or go even higher. But yeah, we're expecting larger," founder Julie King said.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub says mass redundancies could double the number of Kiwis on benefits.

"A big focus should be on looking after the most vulnerable, so making sure we suspend the conditions on all welfare payments - those sorts of things."

Under a new scheme, companies hit by COVID-19 can get up to $150,000 each to cover wages.

But Alpe says it's not enough.

"I think the Government needs to do more and we really hope the Government does more to support us and support the banks so the banks can support us."

Figures obtained by Newshub show more than 27,000 companies have already applied for wage subsidies.