Coronavirus: Kiwis urged to support small businesses during COVID-19 crisis

Kiwis are being urged to throw their support behind small businesses to help them survive the impacts of COVID-19. 

Several mentoring initiatives are underway where experts are offering free advice and guidance to employers during these uncertain times. 

Wellington hairdresser Craig Stinson is putting the scissors down at Calibre Salon, which he owns.

"We've gone from, you know, having four weeks of clients booked in to absolutely zero," he told Newshub.

He's sorted the wage subsidy for his staff, but navigating the process was information overload.

"We've been getting friends telling us stuff, we've been getting [information from] some of the hairdressing forums through Facebook."

That's where the 'Who Did You Help Today' charity can step in.

Stacey Shortall works for the charity and says they offer financial guidance, accounting, legal advice, digital help and marketing by matching skilled volunteers with small businesses to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.

"They're under a lot of stress at the moment, it's come quite quickly for them. Not everyone is used to dealing with a lot of written information, technology for some is more of a struggle," she told Newshub.

There are about 500,000 small businesses in New Zealand, who contribute more than $66 billion to our GDP.

Auckland businesswoman Sharon Henderson has launched an online campaign called 'adopt a Kiwi business' to keep employers afloat.

"The number one thing you can do is still be a customer of your favourite businesses. So even if they've had to close, get in touch, get appointments with them so they still have business to come back to," she told Newshub, 

For Stinson, it's that kind of support that'll help him and his workers pick up the pieces.

"They're really happy to work extra hours and extra days to get everybody fitted in when we get back, because we know there's going to be a lot of very woolly people out there," he says.

Preparing for the post-lockdown workload as best they can when it's their turn to become an essential service.