'Tell us your plan': Call for Government to support Auckland businesses as city goes into level 3 lockdown

The Government should have a plan to help businesses survive the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Auckland Business Chamber says.

It comes as four new cases of the virus from unknown sources were confirmed in Auckland on Tuesday.  From midday on Wednesday, Auckland will move into alert level 3 for the second time, (alert level 2 for the rest of the country) until midnight on Friday at the earliest.

Speaking on The AM Show on Wednesday, Auckland Business Chamber CEO Michael Barnett referred to the news as "devastating for businesses" and confusing for employees". 

"They're low in confidence...reserves: this is probably the very thing they did not expect," he said.

Referring to a survey conducted by Auckland Business Chamber last week, Barnett said although the wage subsidy extension was coming to an end, around half were back on their feet.

"We had 50 percent of businesses back at 100 percent [and] 30 percent back at 75 [percent]: Business is looking to pick up and re-engage," he said.

As the country braces itself for a second wave of the virus, he urges the Government to provide a subsidy and support to raise confidence and help businesses look after their staff.  

The Government's $14 billion rainy day fund - money left over from the $40 billion COVID-19 Recovery Fund - could provide it.

"From the Government's perspective, I come back and say: 'Tell us your plan'...tell us what you're going to do to help businesses looking after their employees and most importantly, how we're going to be able to operate our businesses so we can survive this," he added.

Even if Auckland comes out of alert level 3 on Friday, assuming businesses will be fully operational is a stretch.

"From the businesses perspective, we should be looking and planning for something that's longer than that."