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€8m Covid-19 grant scheme to help B&B owners

Bed & Breakfast owners who do not pay local authority rates will be able to claim grants of up to €4,000 from today, following the opening of applications under the Restart Grant Plus for B&Bs.

The scheme, worth up to €8 million, aims to help B&B owners with the cost of reopening and operating their business during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The grant will be administered through Fáilte Ireland on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. 

Because of the additional restrictions introduced in Kildare, Laois and Offaly in August, B&Bs in those counties will be able to claim €4,800.

Under the Restart Grant Plus B&Bs that do pay local authority rates can already apply to their local authority for the equivalent of their 2019 rates bill, excluding arrears, subject to a minimum grant of €4,000 and a maximum of €25,000.

"Economically tourism was hit hardest and will take the longest to recover from the Covid-19 crisis," said Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland.

"Our focus is on sustaining the sector and supporting businesses to open and operate safely as we move through the pandemic."

B&Bs that are covered by the tourism quality system, the National Quality Assurance Framework (NQAF), will be able to receive grant approval directly from Fáilte Ireland from today until 28 October.

Those without NQAF approval will have a separate application process, with the details due to be announced shortly. 

Meanwhile, up to 2,000 small firms nationwide that have been acutely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will be able access grants of up to €1,000 to help them adapt and rebuild their businesses.

The €2m Micro-Enterprise Assistance Fund aims to assist businesses that are clients of Local Enterprise Offices, employ less than 10 staff and are ineligible for other existing grants.

To qualify businesses must have experienced a 30% drop in turnover due to Covid-19 restrictions and commit to reopening and hiring again.

Grants will be based on the amount of vouched additional expenditure and the businesses must be commercially focussed, have an up to date tax compliance certificate and operate within eligible sectors.

The announcement was made ahead of a visit today by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar to Kildare.

"While many businesses have benefitted from the Restart Grant Plus and other government schemes, this is for small businesses with up to 10 staff that have not been eligible to any scheme to date," Mr Varadkar said.

"It is recognition of the difficulties in adapting to Covid-19 that they have had. Now is the time to shop local and I encourage everyone to think of their local business owner when doing their weekly shop or looking to buy something." 

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