SMALL BUSINESS owners have taken their questions to the top, at the Tamworth Business Chamber State of the State address.
It was an opportunity to speak directly with Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson about how trade will look on the other side of COVID-19.
Mr Tudehope acknowledged local businesses face unique challenges after a prolonged drought and horrific bushfire season.
"Customers have left town, the tourism industry has dried up and the education sector which is a major industry has taken a serious hit," he said.
"This crisis is a health crisis, we should never move away from the fact that we are dealing with a serious health issue that the government needs to address.
"Commensurate with that is the serious economic problems emerging as a result of that health issue."
Small businesses are struggling, evidenced by the fact Tamworth Business Chamber has already helped at least 50 businesses apply for JobKeeper and the NSW government Small Business Grants.
One of the best things business owners can do is to get advice from tax accountants or business advisers to check assistance eligibility, renegotiate loans with the bank or leases with the landlord, Mr Tudehope said.
The lack of internet connection in a time where it's vital to do business was a concern raised.
"A business that has its internet go down in the current circumstances is virtually one that is forced to shut down," Mr Tudehope said.
"A lot of people are forced to trade online or have internet exposure to customers, a failure of connectivity is an additional impost to business."
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said unfortunately the state government would not be able to fix every unique situation that comes across the desk but had put measures in place.
"The short term regulation measures we are putting in place now are exactly that," he said.
"The world will return back to normal."