Restart Grant Available From May 22

The government has agreed details of the new Restart Grant scheme, which will give direct grant aid to micro and small businesses affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

The grant will be available to businesses that pay commercial rates and have a turnover of less than €5m and employing under 50 people, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover out to 30 June 2020.

Applicants will also have to declare the intention of retaining employees who are on wage subsidy scheme and to reemploy staff receiving Pandemic Unemployment Payment, where applicable.

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

Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to local authorities from Friday May 22. Processing of applications will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national roadmap.

The government expects that the cost to the Exchequer of the scheme could be up to €250m.

Business minister Heather Humphreys stated: “Small businesses such as the local hairdresser, café or clothes shop are absolutely vital to the social fabric of our towns and villages throughout the country. These businesses have made huge sacrifices to protect their employees and customers during COVID-19 and we want to help them get back up and running so that they can return to viability and contribute to the national economic recovery.

“These are small grants but they can make a big difference in terms of giving businesses an extra helping hand to open their doors again.”

The new scheme is in addition to the three-months waiver of commercial rates for businesses forced to close.

Dublin Chamber expressed disappointment that the grant is only available to firms with a turnover of less than €5 million.

CEO Mary Rose Burke stated: “It would make sense to increase the turnover limit to €10m, the accepted turnover threshold for what defines a small firm in the EU. The €5m cap means that many small firms who need this grant to restart their business will miss out.”

Article Published: 21/05/2020