Third of Auckland businesses fear permanent closure due to Covid-19 crisis

Bigger businesses are starting to feel the pinch of Covid-19 as they lay off hundreds of workers.

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A third of businesses are getting ready to close permanently, according to a recent survey. Source: 1 NEWS

There's a blunt sign tonight of the size of the economic hit.

A recent survey of mostly Auckland businesses suggests a third are getting ready to close permanently.

"Now the reality has crept in - the big costs, the hire purchase, the rental, the tenancies, the overheads - and people are looking at their reserves and saying, 'I can't survive this'," Auckland Chamber of Commerce's Michael Barnett told 1 NEWS.

Three days ago, publishing powerhouse Bauer announced it's closing its doors in New Zealand.

A day later, SkyCity announced job cuts and restructuring to cope with the impact of the virus, while yesterday 600 Virgin Australia staff were told their jobs are gone.

E tū union's Rachel Mackintosh says workers need support.

"We need active Government at this point, we need a real plan for transition, so we need a plan for the future of the aviation industry," she told 1 NEWS.

It comes as a survey done during the lockdown of 1000 businesses from Auckland's Chamber of Commerce gives a grim insight.

"One of the things that came back that was abundantly clear that over 30 per cent of those thousand companies are going to have shut themselves down, they will not survive," Mr Barnett says.

National leader Simon Bridges wants more businesses back in action if they don't pose a risk.

"The longer we see the devastation and the job losses and the business going under, it's heart attacks, it's mental health issues," he told TVNZ's Q&A this morning.

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The Opposition Leader is calling for more testing and compulsory quarantining at the border. Source: Q+A

"If it's safe, if it's contactless actually, the fashion designers can sell their goods online, the forestry could get going, we've got agriculture going."

But there's no sign of any changes.

"A strategy that sacrifices people in favour of supposedly a better economic outcome is a false dichotomy," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.

Infometrics economist Brad Olsen is warning people that when things settle down, it won't go back to normal.

"I think that's what a lot of people are still holding onto or thinking about," he told 1 NEWS.

"There is no normal return that we go to, what we go into post-lockdown is a very different sort of stage."

Until that happens, he says more big job losses are likely.