Financial support for ACT businesses battered by Delta has been extended due to the extra two-week lockdown.
In a joint statement, the federal and ACT governments will extend COVID-19 business support grants until September 2 and beef up the total amount available in assistance.
Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Graham Catt said the additional funds were a sigh of relief for firms facing the brink of collapse because of the prolonged lockdown.
"I think the first reaction of the moment is relief," Mr Catt told The Canberra Times. "There was a sense of inevitability about this lockdown."
The package will offer $10,000 to employing businesses and $4000 to non-employing businesses or sole traders.
Payments can be accessed if turnover has fallen 30 per cent due to the lockdown.
The extension comes as the ACT records a further 17 cases of community transmission.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the support was in addition to the already $2.1 billion provided to the ACT during the pandemic.
"The Morrison government recognises the announced extension of the lockdown will have a significant impact on households and businesses in the ACT," Mr Frydenberg said.
"That is why we are providing the necessary economic assistance in the form of the COVID-19 disaster payments for individuals and expanded businesses support along with the ACT government."
Hardship payments are also available of up to $10,000 to assist businesses to pay for utilities, rates and other expenses.
MORE COVID-19 NEWS:
Figures provided by the ACT government show 2562 businesses have registered for hardship and support payments since noon on Tuesday.
About 236 Canberra businesses have applied for hardship support, while 546 have lodged claims for support grants. Roughly 1778 have applied for both assistance packages.
The CBC is yet to quantify how many businesses are likely to need assistance, however Mr Catt believes the figures will likely be higher and will heavily skew towards sectors such as tourism, hospitality and accommodation.
"It picks up a really wide range of businesses but we haven't managed to crunch numbers," he said.
The support package which is a 50/50 split in funding by both levels of government was first introduced when Canberra was hurled into lockdown on Thursday.
Initially, the ACT and federal governments had issued a $3000 grant for businesses and $1000 for sole traders when the long lockdown had been issued for a week.
The package is separate to the COVID-19 disaster payments which are available to workers who have lost work and people already on income support.
MORE COVID-19 NEWS:
To obtain the support package, a business must be registered in the ACT and be able to demonstrate to have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 and have a total payroll of less than $10 million.
What is on offer to ACT businesses is similar to the packages rolled out in South Australia, Victoria and NSW.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr noted the package was designed to keep businesses alive while the economy remained at a standstill and to ensure firms could retain workers.
"We know that extended lockdowns are particularly hard for businesses, especially those who have been experiencing a downturn in trade for some months due to restrictions interstate," Mr Barr said.
ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja said businesses in the region are wanting certainty, flagging the next few weeks will be tough on operations.
"The next few weeks will be tough for many businesses and small business owners, and this support together with the Commonwealth's COVID-19 disaster payment will assist businesses to stay connected with their employees, and be able to reopen and recover as quickly as possible when lockdown ends," he said.
"Ensuring our support is as accessible as possible is important to provide certainty and confidence for Canberra businesses impacted by this lockdown."
Businesses can register for the payment on the ACT government business hub webpage.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.