WHEN Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the nation on Sunday night, Lisa and Sergio Rossi's familiar and secure world fell apart.
The husband-and-wife team, both 50, have no idea how they will survive in this coronavirus world.
In the time it took for the Australian government to shutdown all non-essential services, the pair - who have never set foot in a Centrelink office - were left unemployed, along with thousands of other Hunter residents.
Their Real Life Fitness gym was shutdown on Monday and their only other income stream, Mr Rossi's Cruzers band that plays weekly at Newcastle clubs, lost all its work.
"In the space of two minutes, we had zero income," Mrs Rossi said.
"No income whatsoever and we need it desperately, we have no idea how we are going to get through this."
With no money coming in, problems and bills have already started piling up for the Newcastle couple, swollen by the fact that they injected their life savings into the gym two-and-a-half years ago and the fledgling business was just getting on its feet.
What's more, they know the financial pressures are only going to get worse, with experts forecasting the pandemic shutdown could last for at least six months.
Unemployment benefits will not cover the Rossi's mortgage, car loan, household bills, health insurance and groceries, let alone the gym's equipment loan, rent, insurance and bills.
"I'm still numb, it's unbelievable that this is happening," Mr Rossi said.
"We have worked so hard and put everything we have into owning our own small business, it was our dream and all we ever wanted, and now we could lose everything."
The couple said they felt growing despair at the build-up of increasing financial pressure.
As they phoned around trying to make arrangements with lenders this week, one asked what they could "liquidate" to keep paying.
"We've suspended all our members' fees at the gym so there is no income coming in and we have been trying to sort out how to get benefits from Centrelink," Mrs Rossi said.
"Even when we can get that sorted we won't be getting anywhere near enough to keep everything afloat. The business was just starting to see the light at the end of the start-up tunnel and now that light has been turned out."
The couple plan to join the long queues at Hunter Centrelink offices this week in an effort to keep putting food on the table.
"It really hasn't hit me yet, the gravity just hasn't sunk in," Mr Rossi said,
"I've been sitting at home looking out the window and trying to get my head around what has happened, it just doesn't seem real."
The couple plan to dip into their superannuation in an effort to keep themselves afloat, but said "six months is a very long time".
"It feels like someone has just ripped the life from us," Mrs Rossi said. "Everything our life revolves around has been taken away and we just hope that somehow we can manage to hold on and our members come back at the end of all of this. We are lucky we've got a very supportive family and extended family."
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to ensure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists, you can subscribe here
- COVID-19 update: Confirmed cases keep rising in Hunter
- The coronavirus crisis in Newcastle and the Hunter
- Emergency services and healthcare workers hour to start at Coles
- Port Stephens council meeting cancelled, Newcastle's to go ahead
- A-League: Border restrictions put A-League on hold but FFA hope to complete season