Applications open for Local Authority Restart Grant for small businesses
Restart Grant for Small Businesses; The Government’s €250m Restart Grant, which gives direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures, is now open for applications through the Waterford City and County Council website.
The grant will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover up to June 30th, 2020. The grant is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers.
It will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, or a minimum payment of €2,000, whichever is the higher, and will be subject to a maximum payment of €10,000.
If a company is currently in a rateable premise but was not rate-assessed in 2019 it is still eligible to apply. The local authority can pay the grant based on an estimate of what the rates demand for 2019 would have been.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said, “I want to ensure that eligible companies with the most immediate need to get back up-and-running receive the grant support as quickly as possible. For this reason, the businesses listed in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Roadmap, as well as those who stayed open all along, will be prioritised. Businesses know the dates on which their premises can reopen, and we want to avoid long waiting times for the grant. As a result, I am urging businesses to wait until a few weeks before their business is due to reopen before submitting their application to the local authorities.”
Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council welcomed the initiative and said that these grants will help local small businesses that were forced to close or were financially impacted by COVID-19.
“The grants available will match an individual business’s 2019 commercial rates and can be used towards the cost of reopening, replenishing stock, defraying fixed costs or putting in place measures to keep its customers and staff safe.”
“We would encourage any business that stayed open throughout the crisis, as well as those that reopened under Phase 1 (from 18 May) or are due to open under Phase 2 (8 June) of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, to apply now for the Restart Grant.”
“Whether the business is up to date with its 2019 commercial rate payments or not, the Restart Grant will help in some way to take the financial burden out of the costs associated with getting back up and running and the return to viability.”
Applications for the Restart Grant can be made via www.waterfordcouncil.ie and the closing date for receipt of applications is August 31st, 2020.
Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap.
Micro and small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of Covid-19. Many businesses, even while closed, continue to incur costs including fixed costs without being able to generate revenues. It is recognised that businesses will also incur costs in preparing their businesses to reopen and meeting the needs of employees and customers. The Restart Grant is designed to alleviate the pressure on businesses in this context.
To avail of the Restart Grant, a business must be in the Local Authorities Commercial Rates Payment System and:
- have an annual turnover of less than €5m and employ between 1 to 50 people
- have closed and/or suffered a projected 25%+ loss in turnover to end June 2020
- commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed
- declare the intention to retaining employees that are on The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and to reemploy staff on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable.
Business Categories, based on the Government’s Roadmap for a phased re-opening of the economy, are as set out below:
|Phase 1 (18 May)
|Hardware, garden centres, opticians, motor/cycle repairs, office products, electrical, IT equipment, phone sales/repairs, outdoor construction, public amenities.
|Phase 2 (8 June)
|Small retail outlets, marts.
|Phase 3 (29 June)
|Creches for essential workers, retail outlets with street entrance, cafes, and restaurants for on-premises consumption.
|Phase 4 (20 July)
|Creches, ‘high-risk’ services including hairdressers, tourism accommodation.
|Phase 5 (10 August)
|Bars, theatres, cinemas, gyms, shopping centres.