The Government has proposed a package to support businesses and individuals in the event of Alert Level escalations due to resurgences of COVID-19 in the community. The package retains some key existing financial support and adds new elements based on experience and business feedback. This allows businesses to plan knowing what support they will receive if Alert Levels rise to 2 or above and they are directly impacted. This support will be available late February or early March 2021 as the necessary legislation is passed.
The business support measures include the following.
- At Alert Level 2 or above, directly impacted businesses will be able to apply for a one-off Resurgence Support Payment, providing cashflow support to cover fixed costs such as rent. Inland Revenue will administer this payment.
- Firms can still access the Small Business Cashflow Scheme for additional cashflow support or seek lending from their banks (including loans through the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme).
- At Alert Level 3 or above, the most affected firms can also seek the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy to help them keep their staff employed.
- At Alert Level 4, other support measures such as childcare for essential workers, freezes on residential tenancy rent increases and restrictions on residential tenancy terminations will assist firms and households through the most severe public health restrictions.
- A Short-term Absence Payment will be available to eligible employers to support eligible workers who need to stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. This is also available to eligible self-employed workers.