Wagga business owners have expressed bewilderment at the government's vague JobKeeper criteria, with employers at a loss as to whether or not they are eligible to receive payment.
The Australian Taxation Office has said businesses must show a 30 per cent March decline in turnover compared to a normal operating year, but will exercise "discretion" on a case by case basis.
Crowley's Hot Sauce and Cave BBQ owner Jason Crowley said he had no idea whether he qualified for JobSeeker, especially since his restaurant turnover only started to fall later in the month of March.
"We're working our asses off to keep our businesses afloat and keep money in our staffs pockets, but we don't know if we're even eligible," Mr Crowley said.
"There's a bit of an unfair disadvantage if you run your business and your staff know they're not going to get JobKeeper - do businesses pull their effort back so that the reduction in turnover is visible?"
While his restaurant business has seen noticeable declines, he says his hot sauce business is "dead in the water" as the coronavirus cancels food festivals and events all across Australia.
He estimates his sauce business alone stands to lose over $100,000 over the period of six months, however Mr Crowley said he remains optimistic that his business and the country in general would bounce back.
"Be confident, be a leader, keep smiling in front of your staff because they're the people that will spread the smiles through their friends, through their family, and through your customers," Mr Crowley said.
"You've got to keep optimistic and positive, because at the end of all this there will be fundamental changes across society - we'll never be the same."
In the same boat as Mr Crowley is Kooringal Fashions owner Christine Jowley, who has applied for JobKeeper but has not the foggiest idea whether she will be deemed eligible.
Mrs Jowley said the shop had fallen on hard times, just like all the other clothing shops, but she said she remained stoic and optimistic for the future.
"I love my shop, I love my business, I love my clients, but I totally understand that they're staying safe because it's a trying time for everyone," Mrs Jowley said.
"I want to be here for them when they're ready and offer the service that we continue to have. That's our main aim."
In the mean time Mrs Jowley is anxiously awaiting word from the government about JobKeeper, which kicks into effect for businesses in May.
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