A summary of Covid-19 support available in Ireland to you and your business.
Following the announcement of the extension of the “stay at home” to the 5th May it is becoming more evident that our business is going to need great support and attention over the coming weeks and months to ensure that we get to the far side of this crisis as unscathed as possible.
With this in mind, please find below a substantive list of business supports and initiatives that we should all review and consider very carefully and the ways in which these will assist us in minimising the impact of the present crisis on the welfare of our business, ourselves and our family.
Please consider the following when reading the content of the communication:
1. Have we taken enough steps to reduce overheads and cash-flow items
2. Have we considered the Wages Subsidy Scheme and the effect of it implementation for our business
3. Have we made ourselves aware of how to interact with the Revenue during this time and the support they offer to our business at this time
3. Have we put mortgage, loan and asset finance repayment on hold or interest only during this time
4. Have we research financial supports available to support us in our decision making at this time
5. Have we undertaken a detailed cash-flow projection over the coming 3 months to gain visibility on matters that will impact us during this period
6. Have we looked at other ways of conducting our business or new customers and markets
7. Have we considered taking this time to train and up skill during this down time so that we are productive and fully ready for the far side of the crisis
8. Have we fully researched the supports available to us at this time
9. Have we taken the opportunity to talk to Avid Partners as they know our business just as well as us and they are very willing to assist us
Please remember my colleagues and I are always available to give you support and guidance so we would very much like to hear from you.
Talk to your bank
All the banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers, and they may be able to provide payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities.
Take immediate steps to manage your cashflows
Look for scope to:
- Lower variable costs
- Delay discretionary spend
- Extend your payables
- Expedite your receivables
- Explore supply chain financing options
Use available government supports for working capital
- The Credit Guarantee 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 apply.
- Microenterprises can access COVID-19 Business Loans of up to €50,000 from Microfinance Ireland. The terms include a six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period. Loans are available at an interest rate of between 4.5% and 5.5%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
- The new €450m SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
- An additional €200 million in COVID-19 funding for the Future Growth Loan Scheme, which will be released in tranches, will provide longer-term loans to COVID-19 impacted businesses.
- The new Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms with 10 or more employees impacted by COVID-19 that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules.
Check your insurance cover
Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption in your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by COVID-19.
Engage with Revenue
- Revenue has provided COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents experiencing difficulties caused by the impacts of COVID-19.
- Revenue has also issued updated advice to SMEs experiencing cashflow difficulties arising from COVID-19. This includes information on tax returns, late payment interest, debt enforcement and tax clearance.
Be aware of other Government supports
The government has announced a National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. This provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.
- COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme: The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer through the payroll system. The scheme is operated by Revenue and is expected to last 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.
- Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a payment of €350 per week. It is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MyWelfare.ie is the quickest and easiest way to apply for payments – all you need is your email address, PPSN and bank account details.
- On MyWelfare.ie all customers can
- apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
- apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19 including for self-isolation cases
- apply for a jobseeker’s payment
- Request to close their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
- Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
- Grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
- Business Continuity Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
- COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme: A new COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will be open to retailers employing over 10 people. The total fund size will be up to €2 million under this competitive call. The objective of the Scheme is to support companies in the indigenous retail sector with a pre-existing online presence to respond to both the domestic and international consumer demand for a competitive online offer. Grants ranging from €10,000 to €40,000 will be awarded under the competitive scheme.
- COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.
- Lean Business Improvement Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. It is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups). The voucher may be used to obtain services from approved providers.
- Competitive Start Fund: The Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund, worth €750 million, is open to early stage companies in manufacturing and internationally traded services. The maximum support available is €50,000 for a 10% ordinary equity stake in the start-up company. The call closes on 14 April at 3pm.
- Bord Bia marketing grants schemes: Bord Bia is widening its marketing grants schemes in response to difficulties companies are facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis with the introduction of its COVID Response Marketing Support Package.
- Supply chain workers: The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Health have prepared COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers. The guidance provides these essential workers with information as regards their continued work, the importance of access to sanitary facilities and the importance of maintaining all elements of the supply chain.
- Workplace Protection and Improvement: The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has published a COVID-19 Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide outlining preventative measures businesses can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Retail Protection and Improvement: The NSAI has published a COVID-19 Retail Protection and Improvement Guide to help retailers manage business continuity during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Standards for medical supplies made freely available: NSAI and SAI Global have developed the COVID-19 Response Package which will provide free access to Standards for medical devices and personal protective equipment.
- Commercial rates deferral: The government has agreed support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 through commercial rates deferral.
- Restaurants to operate as takeaways: Amendments to Planning and Development Regulations temporarily allow restaurants to operate as takeaways – whereby members of the public can order food for collection for consumption off-premises or have food delivered for consumption off-premises – without being required to obtain change of use planning permission to operate as takeaways.
- Fáilte Ireland supports: In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact on the tourism sector, the Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Business Support Hub is targeting its supports to respond to the most urgent challenges and threats tourism businesses are now facing.
- Training and Mentoring: The Local Enterprise Offices have moved training programmes, workshops and networking meet-ups online, covering areas such as cash management in a crisis, leading your business through COVID-19 and advice for employers impacted by the crisis. To find out more telephone or email your Local Enterprise Office.
- Filing of annual returns: The Companies Registration Office has introduced changes to annual filing obligations for companies to assist companies during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements: The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that the Employment Permits system will continue to operate in all scenarios during the COVID-19 crisis: COVID-19 Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements.
- First Responder support service: 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.
Respond: Business Continuity Planning COVID-19 Checklist
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has updated its checklist on Business Continuity Planning which provides a checklist for businesses in responding to COVID-19.
Essential Service Providers
A list of essential service providers under new public health guidelines was published on 28 March 2020.
Essential Retail Outlets
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended that all non-essential retail outlets close to members of the public. All other retail outlets are to implement social distancing.
Posters and signs for your premises
- The Department of Health has developed public health information posters and social distancing graphics to display on premises.
- More posters, leaflets and social media assets are available on HSE posters and resources.
Innovate: COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Call
- A Rapid Response Research and Innovation programme to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has been developed by the government’s research and innovation agencies.
Help: How business can help with supplies and services to respond to COVID-19
- For information on how to donate the goods or services of your business or organisation please go to how business can help.
Related information and guidance
- HSE information on COVID-19
- Department of Health updates
- DEASP COVID-19 information for employers and employees
- HSA COVID-19 advice including advice for employers and FAQs for employers and employees on home-working
- Competition and Consumer Protection Commission COVID-19 information hub
- Central Bank COVID-19 information hub for consumers and businesses
- FSAI information on COVID-19 and food safety
- Data Protection and COVID-19
- Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice
- EU Export Controls for Personal Protection Equipment
- CIF Statements on COVID-19 and Construction
- COVID-19: Guidance on the right of travellers to terminate package travel contracts
Contact the Business Support Call Centre
- The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has established a Business Support Call Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19.
Tel: +353 1 631 2002
Occupational Health and Safety Helpline
- For information on workplace health and safety please contact the Occupational Health and Safety Helpline.
Tel: 1890 289 389 or (01) 614 7000
COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace
- For support in relation to improving your COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace, contact the NSAI COVID-19 helpline.
Tel: +353 1 807 3800
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