The owners of two of Canberra's commercial art galleries say the coronavirus restrictions have seen a dramatic decline in business but their businesses have survived.
Nancy Sever, who runs the Nancy Sever Gallery at the Gorman House Arts Centre in Braddon, said the period had been very precarious and the recovery would not be instantaneous.
"I would have closed the gallery, really, if we had to continue paying the rent, but because it's an arts centre ... all the tenants are writers, artists, dancers, so everyone was in the same situation," Ms Sever said.
"I think because it's an ACT government building, [the art centre's director] was able to negotiate that we wouldn't pay rent until the end of June. That has changed the situation, it has taken a weight off our shoulders."
Ms Sever said her exhibition program had been put on hold until the limit on gatherings could be lifted to a higher number and opening nights may never look the same. Some works had sold online.
She said artists had particularly felt the effect of the crisis, and it would be important for the city to support them in buying new works as the recovery continued.
"Galleries are what give soul to a city. We can only have so many artists represented," Ms Sever said.
At Beaver Galleries in Deakin, one of Australia's oldest and largest commercial galleries, exhibitions have been held online and viewings permitted by appointment. The planned schedule has continued, even as sales have slowed.
Susie Beaver, who runs the gallery alongside her husband Martin, said it had been difficult after normal operations stopped.
"We feel like we've made it through. It was pretty scary right at the beginning when you think of the expenses that you have and the mortgages and, you know, the loyal responsibility you have to your artists," Ms Beaver said. "At this point it's much more optimistic than it was two months ago."
Two of the gallery's three permanent staff have qualified for the JobKeeper payment, while a part-time member of staff has been temporarily stood down.
There had been ways to adapt, including offering the inspection of a piece using a Zoom video call.
A new client had been looking for a sculpture from a particular artist, Ms Beaver said, but static pictures and an expert description could not fill the gap of seeing it.
"[The client] said, 'Can I Zoom in?' And I went, 'Oh, OK. That's an interesting new thing'," Ms Beaver said.
"In this case, I was trying to describe two different patinas on the work and she said, 'I just kind of need to see them both together and then we can talk about it.'
"And actually it was a really lovely experience, because she was really engaged. It was like her coming here. And you end up having personal relationships with your buyers, and you can talk about the art."
The gallery will reopen on Thursday for 10 socially distanced visitors at a time.