COVID-19: Business Restart Grant

A €250 million Restart Fund has been created by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  The purpose of the grant is to help micro and small enterprises meet the costs of re-opening a business, keeping it operational or re-connecting with customers and employees following COVID-19 closures.

The grant will be equivalent to the claimant’s rates bill for 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000. The grant can be used to pay for ongoing fixed costs, the costs of replenishing stock and any  measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.

To be eligible for the grant a business must:

  • Have an existing rate account with its  local Council
  • Have an annual turnover of less than €5 million and employ up to 50 people
  • Have closed, or incurred a projected 25% or more loss in turnover in the three months to the end of June 2020
  • Commit to remain open or to re-open if it was closed
  • Declare its intention to retain employees that are on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and to re-employ staff on the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable

Applications for the grant are to be made through the business’s  local council offices:

Below are some commonly asked questions in relation to the Restart Grant:

1. What types of business can apply?

Subject to the eligibility criteria above, any business that has a commercially rateable premises, or where rates are paid on their behalf and attributable to the business premises may apply.

Ineligible businesses include:

  • Multiple chain stores, for example,. a business that is a non-financially independent branch of a group of chain stores which is owned and managed by a single entity,
  • Non-commercial organisations such as community and sporting premises (including charity shops and community and sporting premises with a bar)
  • Businesses that do not operate from commercially rateable premises (such as in the case of mobile tradesmen, service providers, etc.)
  • Premises that were vacant prior to the COVID-19 emergency.

2. How much is the grant worth?

The grant will be the amount of the business’s  rates demand for the calendar year 2019 only, subject to a minimum grant of €2,000 and a maximum grant of €10,000.  

If premises were not rate assessed in 2019 then the business’s  local authority will try to assess what the rates demand for 2019 would have been.  If for any reason, an estimate cannot be made the minimum grant of €2,000 will be paid.

A business is still eligible if it is in arrears for its 2019 rates.

3. What can a business use the grant for?

The grant is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers.

The grant could be used to defray ongoing fixed costs such as utilities, insurance, refurbishment or to pay for measures that ensure employee and customer safety.

4. What are the criteria for qualifying for the grant?

A business must have a turnover of less than €5m and have 50 or less employees.

The business must have suffered a projected 25%+ loss in revenue from 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020.   

The business must commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed. 

The business must also declare the intention to retain employees that are benefitting from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Businesses should retain the documentation that they used to support their claims as spot-checks may be carried out to verify their  declarations of intent.

5. How does a business apply for the grant and when / how will it be paid?

An application can be made online via a business’s local authority website. The closing date for receipt of applications is 31st August 2020.

The grant will be paid by electronic transfer to the business bank account provided on the application form.

The councils have indicated that they hope to issue the approval within one week.  This depends, of course, on the initial volume of applications. Applications will be processed in relation to anticipated re-opening dates, in line with the Government’s strategy for the re-opening of the economy.

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