Millions paid out in two days under new COVID-19 business support scheme

The cash was paid out to 2535 firms in less than two days.
The cash was paid out to 2535 firms in less than two days. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand businesses have already received more than $6,580,000 under the government's latest COVID-19 support scheme.

The Resurgence Support Payment was only made available to employers on Tuesday this week.

The cash was paid out to 2535 firms in less than two days.

The 8003 applications that were lodged requested a total of $24 million.

The scheme intends to boost businesses that suffer when there is an increase in alert levels.

It provides each eligible business $1500, plus $400 per staff member for up to a total of 50 full-time employees.

Blake Loveridge, owner and executive chef of the Food Truck Garage in Auckland, has just applied for the scheme said it would provide some much needed support.

"The scheme offers us some immediate cash back in the bank after a tough couple of weeks. Level 3, obviously there's not much you can do in hospitality when everyone's at home," he said.

The package is offered to businesses who can show a 30 percent drop in revenue over seven days.

It is one of many offerings the government's handing out to businesses and individuals facing hardship due to COVID-19.

Auckland's Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said the Resurgence Support Payment would help many employers but some businesses could still go under.

"I think the government's been generous. I think that having the resurgence package is probably adequate for the few days that we were in level three last week … but there are definitely some sectors that all you might be doing is delaying would could be the inevitable," Barnett said.

Blake Loveridge said the pandemic had hit his industry hard, and asked everyone to support the hospitality sector.

"Get behind it. Get behind your local. You know, they need the help. It is a tough industry to be in right now, but we'll stick out, we'll keep trucking along," he said.

Meanwhile hundreds of families in South Auckland are now in isolation, after three new community cases were confirmed on Tuesday.

For businesses needing to pay people who can't get to work, there is government cash.

The Leave Support Scheme is given to employers who have staff that are in isolation and cannot work from home.

The Short-Term Absence Payment is a separate $350 payment for each employee who cannot work from home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result.

Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina said any help was welcome to many.

"Our people in the South always just worry about one thing. It's putting food on the table, so for them, anything is a bonus."

When the alert level changed last week, the community didn't focus on how much the government was offering, he said.

"When that happened, none of one them were saying 'oh gosh, you know the money they're giving is not enough,' they were just worried about how they're going to survive. You know they're just grateful. That's how we are in the South."

Employers can apply for the Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment through the Work and Income website.

Businesses can apply for the Resurgence Support Payment on the IRD website.