Government announces 'restart grant' to get small businesses going again
The Government has agreed details of the new €250m Restart Grant, which will give direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and re-employing workers following COVID-19 closures.
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 out to June 30, 2020. It is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers.
The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: "I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing small businesses during these challenging times.
"The Restart Grant is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.
"Small businesses, whether it the local hairdresser, café or clothes shop, are absolutely vital to the social fabric of our towns and villages throughout the country. These businesses have made huge sacrifices to protect their employees and customers during COVID-19 and we want to help them get back up and running so that they can return to viability and contribute to the national economic recovery.
"These are small grants but they can make a big difference in terms of giving businesses an extra helping hand to open their doors again."
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: "I welcome the announcement today in relation to the establishment of the Restart Grant. In response to the very significant economic challenges posed by Covid-19, the Government has moved swiftly to introduce a range of measures to support enterprises of all sizes. These measures have included supports for wage costs, liquidity supports and the deferral or waiver of payments.
"The Restart Grant, in addition to the other supports which enterprises can access, will support micro and small enterprises, helping them to reconnect with the market and assist them in getting their businesses back up and trading. The Grant will act as further assistance in defraying ongoing fixed costs and meeting costs associated with businesses reopening. In doing so it will support activity and employment across the country.
Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, said: "I very much welcome the Restart Fund and in particular, the important role that local authorities, who have direct links to small and micro enterprises through their Local Enterprise Offices, will play in the administration of the Fund. This support, when linked with other supports put in place, including the 3 month waiver of commercial rates for businesses forced to close, will help small and micro enterprises re-starting their operations and contribute to maintaining employment and economic activity."
Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to local authorities from Friday, May 22.
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.
This direct grant support is part of the wider €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst our SMEs.