FAQs for Local Authorities – Six-Month Waiver of Commercial Rates
A 100% waiver, in the form of a credit in lieu of commercial rates will be applied to the rate accounts of all businesses, for a six-month period (27 March to 27 September), with a small number of categories excepted. This is in recognition of the fact that not only have many ratepayers been forced to close business due to the public health requirements, but many others who remained open have suffered significant reductions in turnover. The rationale for the exclusion of certain categories of ratepayers is that their operations were not as severely impacted by the pandemic, coupled with the need to direct resources appropriately.
FAQs On Six-Month Waiver Of Commercial Rates
Minister Damien English Launches New €5.5m Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, today launched a new €5.5 million Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme as announced in the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus package.
The new fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland, on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and will support retail businesses to enhance their digital capability, drive online sales and grow their customer base.
Targeted at indigenous retailers with a pre-existing online presence, this fund will accelerate their online offerings to respond to both domestic and international consumer demand.
The grant can be used to fund fees for service providers, to develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training, and to enhance the retailer’s website and related systems.
Successful applicants will receive a grant of up to 80% of project costs, with these grants ranging from €10,000 to a maximum of €40,000.
Speaking at the launch of the new scheme in Great Outdoors in Dublin, Minister English said: “The Government has been listening to retailers across the country and it is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to make it an urgent priority for businesses to accelerate the growth of their online offering. For many retailers, developing their online sales channel for consumers has been a long-term goal prior to the pandemic.
“As Minister, I am determined to support that ambition and assist our retailers to increase their digital presence and boost online sales allowing them to target new and existing customers and shoppers in the online space.
“I know the difference grants such as these are making in hundreds of businesses throughout the country. Retailers are seizing the opportunity to significantly enhance their online shopfronts and complement their traditional presence. The increased customers and revenue make an important contribution to the bottom line. It also provides consumers with more opportunities to support local businesses in their community, even when shopping online.”
The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme opens for applications on Monday, 31 August 2020 and closes at 3pm on Monday, 28 September 2020.
Find further information and how to apply here.
Face Coverings Compliance – What Stores Need To Know!
- It is the law that a person shall not without reasonable excuse enter or remain in your shop without wearing a face covering
- Those that are in charge of the shop shall take reasonable steps to engage with people entering into (or inside) the shop to inform them about the Law and shall promote compliance with the Law.
- The “reasonable excuse” referred to in point 1 is defined in Section 5 of the Regulations.
A person has a reasonable excuse if
- The person cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
- Due to any physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
- Without severe distress.
PLEASE NOTE THAT IT IS NOT A REQUIREMENT OF THE PERSON TO “PROVE” OR SATISFY TO THE OWNER/MANAGER THAT THEY HAVE A “QUALIFYING” EXCUSE.
DO NOT SEEK PROOF NOR SHOULD YOU REFUSE ACCESS TO A PERSON THAT CLAIMS THAT THEY CAN’T WEAR A MASK.
You need to protect yourself against a Discrimination Claim founded on a refusal to serve a person by virtue of the person having a disability.
Have masks available for sale to anyone without a covering.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU DISCLOSE THE PRIVATE MEDICAL INFORMATION OF A CUSTOMER TO A THIRD PARTY, THIS WOULD BE CONSIDERED TO BE A GDPR BREACH.
We suggest that you consider indicating to customers that expect the staff to enforce the Regulations that your duty is to bring the requirements to the notice of customers and to promote compliance, the Regulations do not permit anyone other than the Gardai from enforcing them.
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Government Approves Details Of Restart Grant For Small Businesses
Direct grant aid of between €2,000 minimum and €10,000 based on commercial rates bill from 2019.
Scheme applies to small businesses with a turnover of under €5m and employing 50 people or less.
Scheme opens for applications on Friday 22 May through the Local Authorities.
The Government today agreed details of the new €250m Restart Grant, which will give direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures.
The Grant will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover out to 30th June 2020. It is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers.
The grants 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.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said:
I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing small businesses during these challenging times.
The Restart Grant is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.
Small businesses, whether it 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.
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said:
I welcome the announcement today in relation to the establishment of the Restart Grant. In response to the very significant economic challenges posed by Covid-19, the Government has moved swiftly to introduce a range of measures to support enterprises of all sizes. These measures have included supports for wage costs, liquidity supports and the deferral or waiver of payments.
The Restart Grant, in addition to the other supports which enterprises can access, will support micro and small enterprises, helping them to reconnect with the market and assist them in getting their businesses back up and trading. The Grant will act as further assistance in defraying ongoing fixed costs and meeting costs associated with businesses reopening. In doing so it will support activity and employment across the country.
Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, said
I very much welcome the Restart Fund and in particular, the important role that local authorities, who have direct links to small and micro enterprises through their Local Enterprise Offices, will play in the administration of the Fund. This support, when linked with other supports put in place, including the 3 month waiver of commercial rates for businesses forced to close, will help small and micro enterprises re-starting their operations and contribute to maintaining employment and economic activity.
Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to local authorities from Friday 22nd May.
Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap.
This direct grant support is part of the wider €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst our SMEs.
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