The COVID-19 crisis is presenting immediate and severe financial challenges for businesses.
Here are some practical steps, supports and guidance:
Talk to your bank
All the banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers, and they may be able to provide payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities.
Take immediate steps to manage your cashflows
Look for scope to:
- Lower variable costs
- Delay discretionary spend
- Extend your payables
- Expedite your receivables
- Explore supply chain financing options
Use available government supports for working capital
- The Credit Guarantee Scheme supports loans up to €1 million for periods of up to 7 years. Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Eligibility criteria apply.
- Microenterprises can access COVID-19 loans of up to €50,000 from MicroFinance Ireland. The terms include a six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period. Loans are available at an interest rate of between 6.8% and 7.8%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
- The €200m SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
- A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme is available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
Get advice from your accountant or use the advisory support available from your Local Enterprise Office.
Check your insurance cover
Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption in your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by COVID-19.
Engage with Revenue
If you have concerns about your ability to pay your tax liabilities speak to the Revenue Commissioners, who have advised:
"On an on-going basis, Revenue engages with viable businesses experiencing temporary cash flow or trading difficulties that affect the timely payment of tax. Revenue works very successfully with businesses that engage early to resolve their tax payment difficulties. Revenue will engage with any viable business that experiences temporary cashflow difficulties, including difficulties arising from exceptional circumstances such as the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.”
Visit Revenue's COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents. Revenue also posted advice for businesses experiencing trading difficulties as a result of COVID-19. This includes information on tax returns, the application of late payment interest, debt enforcement, tax clearance and customs.
Be aware of other government supports
- The government has announced a National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. This provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.
- Wage Subsidy Scheme: The COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme has been replaced by a new and enhanced COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme administered by the Revenue Commissioners. The scheme enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer through the payroll system.
- Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a payment of €350 per week. It is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MyWelfare.ie is the quickest and easiest way to apply for payments - all you need is your email address, PPSN and bank account details.
On MyWelfare.ie all customers can
- apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
- apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19 including for self-isolation cases
- apply for a jobseeker’s payment
- request to close their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
- Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
- Grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports will be available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
- A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews.
- Business Continuity Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Enterprise Ireland has a number of supports available to help businesses mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Their COVID-19 Business Response Plan outlines the COVID-19 supports available.
- Supply chain workers: The Department of Health has prepared COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers. The guidance document is part of the cross-government response to COVID-19 and is available to download on gov.ie: COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers
- Workplace Protection and Improvement: The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has published a Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide outlining preventative measures businesses can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Commercial rates deferral: The government has agreed support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 through commercial rates deferral.
- Restaurants to operate as takeaways: Amendments to Planning and Development Regulations temporarily allow restaurants to operate as takeaways - whereby members of the public can order food for collection for consumption off-premises or have food delivered for consumption off-premises - without being required to obtain change of use planning permission to operate as takeaways.
- The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.
- Filing of annual returns: The Companies Registration Office has introduced changes to annual filing obligations for companies.
- Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements: The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that the Employment Permits system will continue to operate in all scenarios, see COVID-19 Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements.
Respond: Business Continuity Planning COVID-19 Checklist
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has updated its checklist on Business Continuity Planning which provides a checklist for businesses in responding to COVID-19.
Essential Retail Outlets
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended that all non-essential retail outlets close to members of the public. All other retail outlets are to implement social distancing.
Essential Service Providers
A list of essential service providers under new public health guidelines was published on 28 March 2020.
Posters and signs for your premises
The Department of Health has developed public health information posters and social distancing graphics to display on premises.
More posters, leaflets and social media assets are available on HSE posters and resources.
COVID-19 Rapid Response Call
Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have launched a joint rapid response call to fund RD&I activities that will deliver significant and timely impact for Ireland within the context of the current emergency. This call will be closely co-ordinated with the rapid response call launched by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council.
How business can help with supplies and services to respond to COVID-19
For information on how to donate the goods or services of your business please go to how business can help.
Related information and guidance
Business Support Call Centre
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has established a Business Support Call Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19.
Tel: +353 1 631 2002
Occupational Health and Safety Helpline
For information on workplace health and safety please contact the Occupational Health and Safety Helpline.
Tel: 1890 289 389 or (01) 614 7000
COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace
For support in relation to improving your COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace, contact the NSAI COVID-19 helpline.
Tel: +353 1 807 3800
More information on the government response to COVID-19 is available on gov.ie: COVID-19: Information from across government.