Canberra's business sector is calling for extra support, including something similar to the controversial ChooseCBR scheme, as the ACT emerges out of lockdown.
The territory will gradually emerge from its longest and hardest lockdown on October 15 when a limited amount of customers will return to non-essential retail businesses.
But with applications for Business Support Grants closing on Thursday, Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Graham Catt warned being "totally dependent" on click and collect and reduced customers was not viable for many small businesses.
He said businesses, many of them debt-ridden, needed immediate cash injections to allow them to incur costs.
"The harsh reality is that there's going to be one group of businesses who are left in a position where they really aren't able to trade," he said.
"[They] are really going to be left weathering the storm between the middle of October ... and when December comes along."
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He predicted many would be hesitant to restock - a costly process - while the prospect of snap closures loomed.
"Becoming an exposure sight is a real issue for them, because technically that would mean having to close the business down again for some period of time," he said.
"Part of that decision process is: is it actually worth my while to open at this point in time? They're all the things that people take into account."
Mr Catt welcomed support for the tourism and hospitality sectors outlined in the territory budget.
But he said support in the 2020 June quarter amounted to $2.1 billion, when the federal government's JobKeeper and cash flow boosters were taken into account.
"There is still a very significant gap between the level of support that has been provided over this lockdown, and the kind of support that actually got businesses through and trading again successfully in 2020," he said.
He raised the prospect of reviving the ChooseCBR program, giving Canberrans ACT government-subsided vouchers to use in local businesses.
"I don't know whether it's vouchers or whether it's something else ... but there is also a need to provide stimulus in the form of actually driving genuine customers," he said.
"That's what businesses want most of all, so absolutely whatever form that might take."
The trouble-plagued scheme's website was pulled down in June after crashing multiple times, before $800,000 of its $2 million budget was spent in just a few hours.
An ACT government spokesperson revealed there were no plans to revive the program, but said it was looking at ways to encourage Canberrans to kick-start local businesses.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has largely blamed delays in Business Support Grant payments, jointly-funded by the Commonwealth and territory, to incomplete paperwork.
Businesses were able to apply for up to $30,000 in funding, depending on the turnover.
Rachel, sole trader at Shine Om, a yoga centre primarily for children and teens, has been forced to move online at reduced prices.
She said her revenue streams had suffered, but warned the impact of lockdown would be ongoing.
"Just because we do come out of lockdown next week doesn't necessarily mean everything's coming back and thriving," she said.
"There's a lot of anxiety in the community as well, so people are hesitant to return to class."
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Many younger school children were not set to return to class November 1.
While some parents may be willing for their children to return once in-person school provides a relief from screens, she said others were more hesitant.
"The general rhetoric from my community is, 'Watch and see, watch and wait'," she said.
ACT Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said Canberra's hospitality and retail sectors had been severely impacted by the lockdown.
She said it was up to the government to ensure they could trade in "any meaningful way".
"Canberran businesses have borne the economic brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.
"It is unacceptable that so many who are doing it tough right now are yet to receive a cent from the ACT Labor-Greens government, and worse, that they are being blamed for the delays."
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