The following are a number of business supports the government has announced over the last few days. Though the situation is ever changing and we would advise you keep monitoring government agency sites for further updates.
Support for businesses impacted by COVID 19 through commercial rates deferral
The Government has today (20 March, 2020) agreed with local authorities that they should agree to defer rates payments due from the most immediately impacted businesses – primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, for three months, until the end of May. This measure will be implemented by each local authority in its own area.
The Government is engaging with business owners and representative bodies nationally, while each local authority is engaging with its ratepayers and representative groups, monitoring the impacts at this stage of the COVID-19 response and keeping the evolving situation under review.
Already, individual local authorities are dealing with difficulties experienced by rate payers on a case by case basis. They are taking account of business pressures at this extraordinary time in terms of collection of rates and enforcement, in the sectors most impacted so far.
While the identified types of businesses may be most impacted initially, local authorities are also conscious that there may be impacts on other categories of ratepayers as the impact of COVID-19 and responses evolve and are monitoring the situation closely.
Individual local authorities have a long-standing relationship with local businesses and are very well placed to deal with this evolving situation and its impact on ratepayers in their own local authority areas and operating environments.
Any commercial ratepayers that have had to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations during the COVID-19 response period should contact their local authority immediately in relation to any rates payments falling due in the period to end-May. Ratepayers that can continue to pay their outstanding local authority rates should continue to do so in the normal way.
Six-month moratorium on interest and repayments on new Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 loan – Minister Humphreys
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD announced that the new Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 loan, which was announced by the Government last week, includes an option for a moratorium on interest and repayments for the first six months.
She urged microenterprises – sole traders and limited companies with fewer than 10 employees – that are impacted by COVID-19 to consider applying for the loan to ease their cashflow problems.
Minister Humphreys said:
“Small businesses need liquidity right now and this loan is designed to assist them in the uncertain months ahead.
Firms can borrow up to €50,000 for a maximum three-year term but there are no hidden costs and no penalties for early repayment
The loan has very attractive terms, in particular the fact that businesses can opt for the first six months to pay 0% interest and make no repayments. The loan would then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month period.
I would strongly urge micro-enterprises experiencing cashflow difficulties to visit the Microfinance Ireland website to see if this loan might be the right option for them.
Not only can it be used for working capital requirements, it can also help businesses with any changes they have to make as a result of COVID 19.”
The Minister emphasised to eligible businesses that they will receive a lower rate of interest if they apply through their Local Enterprise Office, which can also offer many other supports for businesses affected by COVID19.
Government confirms supports for employers and business continuity
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, provided an update on developments regarding her Department’s employer refund scheme which allows the employer to pay the worker €203 and receive a refund from the State in the circumstances where the employer has ceased trading and as a result of financial difficulty have to temporarily lay off staff.
The Minister announced:
“I am pleased to be able to say that after working with the Department of Enterprise, Business and Innovation and the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform we are agreed that employers engaged with the scheme should be allowed to top up the payment by the State. The details are now being finalised and will be announced this week.
This will further strengthen the viability of the scheme and ensure that many employers can provide some additional income above the basic social welfare payment for their workers.
The Coronavirus outbreak is presenting unprecedented challenges to society and to state agencies but we are determined to meet each challenge with effective solutions and speed as much as we can and I am delighted that, in this regard, we have been able to address this issue.”
NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff at 051 859999/ email@example.com