With the growing spread of COVID-19 in Ireland, many businesses have had to close or curtail their activities.
The closure of pubs, hotels, restaurants and many retail businesses has resulted in a domino effect, impacting on suppliers and service providers. Businesses should take note of the many new and pre-existing supports provided by the government. We outline below the business supports available:
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) has set up a page setting out practical steps for businesses effected by COVID-19:
- Additionally they have provided a Business Continuity Checklist which may be of assistance to businesses and can be found at https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/Business-Continuity-Planning-Checklist-COVID-19.pdf
Enterprise Ireland COVID-19 Business Response Plan:
- This document provides best practice guidelines for businesses in response to COVID-19.
Enterprise Ireland Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme:
- €200 million will be available through Enterprise Ireland for viable but vulnerable firms that need to restructure or transform their businesses, details of these supports are being finalised. The link below for the Enterprise Ireland COVID 19 page will provide updates as they are available.
Micro Finance Ireland COVID-19 Loan:
- These loans are being offered to any business (sole trader, partnership or limited company) with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of up to €2m who is not in a position to avail of finance from Banks and other commercial lending providers and 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID-19. These loans are for €5,000-€50,000 for up to 3 years. The form to register interest and list of documents required is on the website.
COVID-19 Unemployment Payment:
- This could be of relevance to any businesses that have to lay off staff as a result of the pandemic. It offers a 6-week payment of €203 for those who have lost jobs as a result.
Short time work support payment for employees:
- This will be of relevance to any business who has had to reduce the working hours of any staff members. Staff can avail of this if they previously worked full time but are now only employed up to 3 days a week. This can be paid for up to 234 days and the amount received is proportionate to the entitlement under Job Seekers allowance for the days the employee is no longer working.
Refund Scheme for wages for Employers:
- The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has set up a refund scheme for employers to pay staff €203 per week for each worker. This means that workers retain their link with employers and there is no need for them to submit a Jobseekers claim. The below link has more detail and this can be applied for through the Revenue when submitting payroll returns.
SBCI Working Capital Scheme
- The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is currently working to finalise the terms and conditions of the SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme and the eligibility application process for this. The SBCI website will be updated as soon as these are finalised. In the interim if you wish to be kept informed on developments please email the SBCI at firstname.lastname@example.org
- According to the DBEI website: 'Maximum loan size will be €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) and the maximum interest rate will be 4%'
SBCI SME Credit Guarantee Scheme:
- This scheme supports loans up to €1 million for periods of up to 7 years. Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Eligibility criteria can be found at the link below.
Finance in Focus Grant:
- A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews.
Local Enterprise Office Vouchers:
- LEOs can provide business continuity vouchers from €2,500 to assist in preparing any business continuity issues that arise in the current challenging environment. The Local Enterprise Website is not clear on how to apply for this specifically but the link below is for their COVID-19 page which may be updated to reflect this:
First Responder Support Service to be established:
- The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation website references that: 'The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.' However no further details are available for this at the current time.
Businesses should keep up to date with the supports offered by the DBEI and others and ensure that they continue to communicate with business partners and keep them appraised of any measures being taken. We will also bring you updates.
For more information or to discuss any COVID-19 related issues impacting your business, please get in touch with Máire Cunningham (Corporate and Commercial), Barry Cahir (Litigation and Insolvency), Thomas O'Dwyer (Litigation), Sharon Delaney (Litigation), Damian Maloney (Corporate and Commercial), Aidan Marsh (Commercial Property) Dorit McCann (EU, Competition & Procurement), Gerry Gallen (Commercial Property), Sandra Masterson Power (Employment), Paul Gough (Employment) or your usual Beauchamps contact.