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Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses

There is a wide range of financial supports and guidance available to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Have you applied for the new Restart Grant?

The Restart Grant provides direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures: Apply now through your local authority website

Business Support Call Centre

Here are some practical steps, supports and guidance to help your business mitigate the impact of COVID-19:

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 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

Get advice

Get advice from your accountant or use the advisory support available from your Local Enterprise Office.

Engage with Revenue

Revenue's COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents provides information on Revenue services and tax and customs measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic including information on tax returns, 'warehousing' of deferred tax debts and interest suspension arrangements.

Avail of government supports

  • Credit Guarantee Scheme: 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.

  • COVID-19 Business Loans: Microenterprises can access COVID-19 Business 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 4.5% and 5.5%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.

  • COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme: The €450m 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.

  • Future Growth Loan Scheme: It has been agreed that an additional €500 million in COVID-19 funding will be made available through the Future Growth Loan Scheme to provide longer-term loans to COVID-19 impacted businesses.

  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund: The Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, with 10 or more employees, that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules.

  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise: As part of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, Enterprise Ireland operates a specific Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise. This fund provides a short term working capital injection of up to €50,000 to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and strengthen their ability to return to growth.

  • Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will focus on investment in medium and large scale enterprises in Ireland through a Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. The fund, worth up to €2 billion, will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.

  • COVID-19 Income Supports Scheme: The COVID-19 Income Support Scheme provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.

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.

  • General grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness. 

  • Restart Grant: The new €250m Restart Grant provides 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 is the equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019 or a minimum grant of €2,000, with a maximum grant of €10,000. The application form is available online from all local authority websites.

  • Enterprise Support Grant: The Enterprise Support Grant for businesses impacted by COVID-19 will be available for self-employed people who are closing their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment after 25 June.

  • COVID Products Scheme: The COVID Products Scheme will allow for up to €200m in targeted State support to facilitate the research and development of COVID products, to enable the construction or upgrading of testing and upscaling infrastructures that contribute to the development COVID-19 relevant products, as well as to support the production of products needed to respond to the outbreak. The scheme will be delivered through IDA Ireland's COVID-19 supports and Enterprise Ireland's COVID-19 Business Response.

  • Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.

  • COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme: The COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme is a grant for retail companies with greater than 10 employees to develop a more competitive online offer. The April call resulted in €6.5m in grants for the retail sector. A second call is due to issue soon.

  • LEAN for Micro: LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for further details.

  • COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.

  • Lean Business Improvement Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. It is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups). The voucher may be used to obtain services from approved providers. 

  • 'Warehousing' of deferred tax debts: The scheme, administered by Revenue, will ‘warehouse’ VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Commercial rates waiver: Commercial rates are being waived for a three month period beginning on 27 March 2020 for businesses that have been forced to close due to public health requirements. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is preparing guidance on the scope and application of the waiver for local authorities. When finalised, updates will be available on housing.gov.ie and from local authorities.

  • Cross-border companies: InterTradeIreland’s Emergency Business Solutions offers professional advice, to the value of €2,250, to address key business challenges related to COVID-19. The E-Merge programme provides €2,800 consultancy support to help cross-border businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.

  • Food, drink and horticulture sectorBord Bia's 'Navigating Change' COVID-19 Response programme offers a suite of supports for food, drink and horticulture businesses affected by COVID-19.

  • Seafood sector: Bord Iascaigh Mhara is providing COVID-19 business support to the seafood sector.

  • Farm businesses: Teagasc is available to provide support on issues facing farm businesses in light of COVID-19.

  • Restaurants to operate as takeaways: Amendments to Planning and Development Regulations temporarily allow restaurants to operate as takeaways without being required to obtain change of use planning permission.

  • Supply chain workers: The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Health have prepared COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers. The guidance provides these essential workers with information as regards their continued work, the importance of access to sanitary facilities and the importance of maintaining all elements of the supply chain.

  • Tourism sector: In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact on the tourism sector, the Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Business Support Hub is targeting its supports to respond to the challenges tourism businesses are now facing. Their supports include specific reopening guidelines for every sector.

  • Culture sector: The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has provided details of the COVID-19 supports for artists and those working in the arts sector.

  • Design sector: The Design & Craft Council Ireland delivers a range of support and development programmes, including webinars and FAQs in response to COVID-19.

  • Childcare providers: The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has announced a funding package of €75 million for reopening early learning and childcare services. The grants will help with additional costs associated with reopening after COVID-19.

  • Training and Mentoring: Enterprise Ireland's eiLearn is an online learning resource where you can access over 400 pieces of customised content designed for Irish SMEs. The Local Enterprise Offices have moved training programmes, workshops and networking meet-ups online, covering areas such as cash management in a crisis, leading your business through COVID-19 and advice for employers impacted by the crisis - to find out more telephone or email your Local Enterprise Office.

  • Focus on skills: Skillnet Ireland is supporting enterprises, across 70 learning networks as they address issues such as business continuity, financial planning, digital transformation and service innovation. The network of Regional Skills Fora provides a single contact point in each region to help employers connect with the range of services and supports available across the education and training system. SOLAS provides training to companies and their employees through the Skills to Advance initiative and through online courses on the eCollege platform, which are now free to all learners.

  • Filing of annual returns: The Companies Registration Office has introduced further changes to annual filing obligations for companies to assist companies during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • First Responder support service: 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.

  • COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding: The COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Call (Phase 2) will fund projects up to 14 months in duration that build scientific knowledge and/or develop novel solutions that have the potential to impact society in the short/medium term in a number of thematic areas.  

  • Standards for medical supplies made freely available: NSAI and SAI Global have developed the COVID-19 Response Package which provides free access to Standards for medical devices and PPE.

  • Guidance on the requirements relating to the manufacture and distribution of medical devices, PPE and barrier masks:

  • Online COVID-19 platform to help firms collaborate: Companies aiming to help healthcare responses to the COVID-19 crisis can collaborate via a new online COVID-19 platform. Spearheaded by InterTradeIreland and TechIreland, the cross-border platform allows businesses to see quickly, in and beyond their region, who they can work with to combat supply chain and manufacturing challenges generated by the pandemic.

Follow the roadmap for reopening business

The revised roadmap for reopening society and business sets out Ireland's plan for lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The government has approved the move to Phase 3 in line with advice received from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET):

Phase 3 measures in place now

Phase 4 measures to come into effect on 20 July (subject to approval) 

Return to work safely

Return to Work Safely Protocol

The Return to Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, when the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phase of the current pandemic.

Templates and checklists

The Health and Safety Authority's COVID-19 checklists and templates – based on the Return to Work Safely Protocol – have been prepared to help employers, business owners and managers to get their business up and running again and to inform workers about what they need to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Data Protection

The Data Protection – Return to Work Safely Protocol guidance document has been prepared to assist in providing clarification where the measures set out in the Return to Work Safely Protocol may result in the processing of personal data.

Business continuity

Posters and graphics

The Department of Health has issued a range of COVID-19 posters and graphics including new stay safe guidelines for work, home, public transport, outdoors and shopping.

Posters, leaflets and other resources for use in workplaces and communities are also available on the HSE website at COVID-19 posters and resources and the HSA website at hsa.ie/covid19.

Download our guide to business supports

The Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 booklet details the key supports and resources available to help businesses.

Contact our Business Support Call Centre

Contact the DBEI Business Support Call Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19.

Tel: +353 1 631 2002

Email: infobusinesssupport@dbei.gov.ie

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

Email: wcu@hsa.ie

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


Related information 

For more information, advice and guidelines from across government visit gov.ie/covid19.

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