The productivity gap was always there. The pandemic merely brought the gap into stark contrast.
The first phase of JobKeeper did not require a business to prove that they had actually suffered a downturn in revenue, just have evidence turnover was likely to drop in a particular month or quarter. For many businesses, early trends indicated that the pandemic would have a devastating impact on revenue. Many also took action and prevented the trend from entrenching by actioning plans to protect their workforce and revenue. The fact that the business improved, does not impact on initial JobKeeper eligibility. In the first phase of JobKeeper, employers were not obliged to stop JobKeeper payments if trends improved.
The Government has stepped in to prevent a wave of insolvencies when the COVID-19 support measures run their course in December 2020.