mars 22, 2023


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Government announces expansion of Covid-19 support

The government has announced plans to boost business support for the hospitality and arts sectors affected by the recent restrictions.

This includes reopening the Wage Support Scheme to new applicants and easing the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme’s turnover reduction figure to 40%.

There is also an extension to tax storage.

Tanist Leo Varadkar described the announced support as significant.

Varadkar said the measures put in place a level of financial support similar to or better than the financial support provided to those sectors when Ireland was in a full Level 5 lockdown.

He said the EWSS fee will be paid at full price through January and will now reopen for businesses that have been able to exit the EWSS in recent months.

Mr Varadkar said that in certain circumstances, the EWSS will be open to new companies that have not benefited from the scheme because they are not doing well as a result of the existing restrictions in place.

The finance minister said companies that previously deregistered can now re-enter in January if they meet certain turnover and entry criteria.

These companies should expect their combined sales volume for December 2021 and January 2022 to be at least 30% lower compared to December 2019 and January 2020 combined, Paschal Donohue said.

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He said that this requirement applies to all companies that started operations on or before April 30, 2019.

For those who started on or after May 1, 2019, said Mr. Donohoe, they should expect their turnover for the month to drop in January 2022 by 30% compared to their combined return for August-November this year.

Mr Varadkar said CRSS money will be paid to companies that feel compelled to close due to the restrictions.

He said restaurants and bars could receive this amount if opening until 8pm did not fit their business model or was impractical and would not cover their costs.

He said that if the place remains open until 8 pm but is operating at 40% of its turnover or less, it will also be eligible for this payment.

Tánaiste said there will be an extension of tax stockpiling for another three months, which he said will help cash flow for these businesses.

Mr Varadkar said that the commercial rates for the first quarter of next year will be waived for the sectors most affected and the pandemic unemployment payments will be reopened for people who have lost their jobs or who have been laid off as a result of these restrictions.

He said that there are a series of low-cost loans available through banks and financial institutions supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

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Employers are strongly urged to keep employees on the payroll.

Bars, restaurants, cinemas and theaters must now close at 8pm.

Varadkar said the restrictions are in place until the end of January, although that could be reconsidered if things change « significantly for better or worse ».

Tens of thousands of employees are expected to apply for the pandemic unemployment payment this week, which has already reopened to new applicants.

Mr Donohoe said the evidence of the government’s approach was clear.

« I am confident that what we are doing makes economic sense, and the reason for that is the speed of the economic recovery in 2021, » he said.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath said 3 billion euros had been hoarded by 100,000 companies.

The Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) welcomed the announcements.

“The support outlined by Ministers Donohue and McGrath will go some way to supporting hospitality companies and workers in the economically depressed hospitality sector across the state at a critical time in the run-up to Christmas,” said Adrian Cummins, CEO of RAI.

The Council of Ministers met this morning in its last meeting for this year.

Also on the agenda was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The plan, which must be submitted for approval to the European Commission before the end of the year, will see 9.8 billion euros in funding available for 130,000 farming families.

This plan was presented to Cabinet by Secretary of Agriculture Charlie McConnalog.

Coleman O’Sullivan contributed to this report

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