I propose to take Questions Nos. 545 and 604 together.
On Friday, 15 May 2020 the Government 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 30 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, or a minimum payment of €2,000, whichever is the higher, and a maximum payment of €10,000. Those businesses with outstanding rates bills are also eligible to make an application if they meet the criteria.
Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to local authorities from Friday 22 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.
To avail of the Restart Grant, a business must be in the Local Authorities Commercial Rates Payment System and:
1. have an annual turnover of less than €5m and employ between 1 to 50 people;
2. have closed and/or suffered a projected 25%+ loss in turnover to end June 2020;
3. commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed;
4. declare the intention to retaining employees that are on The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and to reemploy staff on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable.
The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs and in particular for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.
This direct grant support is part of the wider €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes the Wage Subsidy Scheme, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs.