COVID-19: Auckland businesses forced to close doors struggling to pay loans from previous lockdowns

Businesses forced to close their doors in Auckland this week say they'll now struggle to pay back loans they got in the last lockdown.

Owners of restaurants and cinemas want extra Government assistance - something the Finance Minister made moves towards on Tuesday. 

Pasta and Cuore, a popular Italian restaurant, was supposed to feed 100 Auckland diners tonight - a full house. 

Instead, it's offering only pasta da asporto -  takeaways. Owner Gabriele Marangoli told Newshub they were prepared for it - but it will still wipe 70 percent of their revenue. 

"Which is quite a big gap."

Not every business is bothering with takeaways this week - those who are, say it's already proving difficult. 

Mt Eden Village Kebab owner Ghulam Trriqi says the last lockdown was easy. 

"[It] was quite busy for us. This one is a bit quiet, quieter."

Aucklanders are still getting out for their flat white fix, but many businesses here are still licking last year's financial wounds. 

Cinemas have been crushed by COVID - this snap lockdown has taken out one of the busiest nights - cheap Tuesday. 

Lido cinema director Richard Dalton told Newshub it hurts, 

"It hurts on the back of everything else. I think we've got massive loans in the bank now."

Loans so big that the owner of the Lido has been told he can't borrow any more. 

He's due to start repayments in April, but if these seats stay empty, he won't be able to. 

"I'd like to think without any lockdowns we'll be okay, but with more lockdowns, and without sizable support, then we won't be okay.". 

The Government will only unlock financial support for businesses if this lockdown lasts a week. Alert level 2 will still count. 

The Resurgence Support plan would give each business $1500 - plus an extra $400 per employee - a maximum payment of $21,500

Businesses can only access it if their revenue drops 30 percent over a seven day period. 

Until that support is confirmed, staff are hoping customers fill the void.. and their stomachs. 

As Marangoli says, "pasta and pizza is probably the best food to have while you are at home"

Comfort comes in more forms than cash.