I recognise the difficulties being experienced by those in the trade fairs and exhibitions industry during the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. I know that many employers, employees and the self-employed in this sector want to get back to work as quickly and safely as possible; and I support them in that ambition.
This matter raised by the Deputy is, in the first instance, a matter for the Department of An Taoiseach, but my Department is engaging with that Department across a range of business related areas on the Roadmap for Reopening. When any changes are made to the current restrictions by Government, they will be publicly announced, and the most up to date public health advice may be monitored on the gov.ie website.
Representatives of the trade fair and events industry have had engagement with my colleague, Minister of State Troy, on how trade fairs and exhibitions could progress to a reopening scenario. My Department is in consultation with the Department of An Taoiseach, and there will be consideration by the Government in the context of the further lifting of restrictions into the future, as we seek to balance public health, economic and social aspects of living with COVID-19 to try to bring some greater certainty to those still impacted by the pandemic.
As the Deputy is aware, the Government has put in place a comprehensive package to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), Small business assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates.
The level of business supports is unprecedented, and I would urge businesses to ensure that they are aware of what is available to them and apply for the appropriate schemes.
IN addition to the supports outlined above, the Government has worked to ensure that there is a range of assistance in place for COVID-19-impacted businesses including the COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme, the Brexit Loan Scheme, the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme and the Future Growth Loan Scheme.
A new Events Sector Covid Support Scheme (ESCSS) is a once-off scheme with a funding allocation of €11.5 million to support the events sector. Details are available from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media and at the gov.ie website.
In addition, on the 1st of June 2021 the Government announced the Business Resumption Support Scheme (BRSS) for vulnerable but viable businesses in sectors that were significantly impacted throughout the pandemic, even during periods when restrictions are eased. The BRSS will be administered by Revenue, with further details expected to be announced in September 2021.Full details of the wide range of current COVID-19 schemes for businesses are available on the Department’s website at enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/.
While I understand the difficulties businesses have faced, and recognise the sacrifices that have been made, it is encouraging that the country is now in a much more hopeful position.