22 May 2020 | 01.00 pm
Applications Open For Restart Grants
Grants from €2,000 to €10,000 based on 2019 rates payment
22 May 2020 | 01.00 pm
Local authorities are now taking applications from small businesses for the Restart Grant announced by government on May 15.
The grant is aimed at small and micro-businesses reopening in accordance with the state’s roadmap for getting society and business up and running again.
The amounts available range from a minimum of €2,000 to a maximum of €10,000, and eligible businesses include those that remained open during the Covid-19 crisis.
The grant will be available to businesses that pay commercial rates and have a turnover of less than €5m and employing under 50 people, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover up to 30 June 2020.
Business group Dublin Chamber criticised the €5m turnover eligibility cap for the grant, insisting that it is too low.
Public affairs director Aebhric McGibney stated: “It would make sense to increase the turnover limit to €10 million, the accepted turnover threshold for what defines a small firm in the EU. The €5m cap means that many small firms who need this grant to restart their business will miss out, putting the future of those businesses in doubt.”
Grant applicants will have to declare the intention of retaining employees who are on the wage subsidy scheme and to re-employ staff receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, where applicable.
The grant will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, subject to the minimum and maximum payments of €2,000 and €10,000. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.
The government expects that the cost to the Exchequer of the scheme could be up to €250m. The scheme is in addition to the three-months waiver of commercial rates for businesses forced to close.
If a company is in a rateable premises at present 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.
Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online directly to local authorities and further information is available on the application form. Details of local authority websites are available here. If there are queries that are not addressed on the application form, businesses can contact the Business Support Unit in each local authority.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has established a Business Support Call Centre for information on the business supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19. It can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (01) 631 2002.
Business minister Heather Humphreys (pictured) said 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 re-opening roadmap (below).
Business Categories based on the roadmap for a phased re-opening of the economy
|Hardware, garden centres, opticians, car dealers, motor/cycle repairs, office products, electrical, IT equipment, phone sales/repairs, outdoor construction, public amenities.
|Small retail outlets, marts.
|Retail outlets with street entrance, cafes and restaurants for on-premises consumption.
|Hairdressers, hotels, hostels, caravan parks, holiday parks, creches.
|Bars, theatres, cinemas, gyms, shopping centres, schools, colleges, educations centres.