Businesses already crying out for support to cover losses over three day COVID-19 Auckland lockdown

Businesses are already crying out for support to cover their losses over the three day lockdown in Auckland, but they'll have to wait - Government support packages will only kick in after a week.

The Great Room at Auckland's Cordis Hotel was supposed to host a 300-person function this week. But then came the alert level 3 lockdown and it was called off. 

"It was like a kick in the gut," Cordis managing director Franz Mascarenhas told Newshub. "It is positively the worst time this could have happened to us."

It leaves those 300 hotel rooms empty too - and then there's the dinners to cater for them all. It means the Cordis stands to lose out on up to half a million dollars.

"For it to come just on these days is absolutely devastating," said Mascarenhas. 

As for Master Mechanics in Auckland, they're still on the tools and allowed to operate. But if lockdown lasts longer, they'll struggle. 

"We're definitely going to need another loan if this continues, so I hope the Government is going to provide loans for businesses," said Master Mechanics director Wiremu Burkhardt. "I think that's really important and what saved our business from going under."

The Government hasn't indicated a repeat of the loan scheme - but has multiple support payments ready to roll out. 

The resurgence support payment - a new one - will kick in if we are at alert level 2 or above for a week or more. Businesses can access it if they have a 30 percent drop in revenue. There's a base payment of $1500 per business - plus $400 extra per employee - up to 50. The maximum available is $21,500.

"Obviously if we reach the seven day threshold then they get rolled out," Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Newshub. "It's not even a matter of a decision - it's automatic."

The wage subsidy will also be re-deployed if level 3 lasts more than a week. Businesses could claim both that and the resurgence payment retrospectively. The next 72 hours will count toward the seven day period.

And from right now, businesses already have access to the short-term absence payment if their staff needs to self-isolate or be tested. 

But Hospitality New Zealand wants a specific targeted package - every alert level rise brings that industry to its knees. 

"The hospitality industry has been at the forefront of the impact right from day one," said Hospitality NZ CEO Julie White. "The Government really needs to step up and take a sector approach right now."

The Government's thinking behind only activating support if restrictions are in place for a week or more is that as we begin to become more aware of the impacts of the pandemic, it doesn't want to quick-draw the cheque book at every turn. 

It wants businesses to have some resilience built in to be able to handle a short sharp lockdown. 

The problem is no one knows when the next one may come or how long it may last.