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Businesses To Get £40M Relief Package Amid New Covid Restrictions

Amid the latest surge of the Omicron variant across Europe, trade bodies called for emergency financial assistance for businesses that will be severely affected by the partial lockdown, which is due after Christmas in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Businesses To Get £40M Relief Package Amid New Covid Restrictions

The new rules are being imposed to curb social interactions, the primary medium for the spread of the Covid-19. Hospitality venues have been told to offer only table services from December 27 with no more than 6 people, or 10 people from a single household, allowed at one table. Nightclubs have also been ordered to shut 26th December onwards after 6:00 GMT. 

Businesses To Get £40M Relief Package Amid New Covid Restrictions

But several business groups have voiced their fears that these rules would bring about heavy losses in revenue and jobs. 

These restrictions were announced as Northern Ireland recorded its highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began at 3,231 new cases of the virus. 

Omicron, the fourth variant of the Coronavirus, which started wreaking havoc around the world in 2020, is currently the most dominant strain in Europe and is fast catching up around the world. 

In Northern Ireland, Omicron is supposed to make up almost 60% of new cases. 

The Stormont Executive had imposed these latest rules to try and curb the recent Omicron surge. 

Joe Dougan, an event promoter in Belfast, said that many staff would be out of work after Christmas with the inventory supply chain workforce also being affected. He also feared that these regulations would cause people to socialize in unregulated settings. 

Even before the decision, many names in the hospitality sector were already experiencing the oncoming effects with reduced bookings and footfall amidst the Omicron surge. 

Some restaurants already had to close due to less footfall. 

Albeit, most names in the hospitality industry called out for ‘urgent financial support to help them cut losses with the post-Christmas rules. 

The country’s first minister Paul Givan said that the business community was right to call out for support. He added that the Executive is developing a support package for the hospitality industry and nightclubs to save them heavy losses in income and manpower. 

But on Christmas eve, a £40m relief package was put together by the Executive to help hospitality businesses that would be massively affected by the new rules.

More than 3,200 hospitality businesses are eligible to receive grants between £10,000 and £20,000. The premises will be based as per their Net Annual Value (NAV), which is their current rental value. 

Premises with a NAV of £15,000 or below would receive up to£10,000, while those with a NAV between £15,001 to £51,000 will receive £15,000. All businesses with a NAV of over £51,000 are eligible to receive grants up to £20,000. 

Businesses in Northern Ireland that are eligible to receive these support packages include restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, cafes, coffee shops, bistros, and private member’s clubs. 

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also voiced their support for the hotel and leisure industries in terms of the loss that they would suffer, although they upheld the rules implemented by the Stormont Executive. 

Later on, the NI chief Colin Neill upheld the decision and said that the compensation would bring relief to business owners and staff alike who could ‘enjoy the holiday season with a sense of short-term security. He called for the money to be swiftly flown across to the hospitality industry ‘as quickly as possible.

However, there are concerns of further stringent rules after the New Year across the UK, which further cause businesses to shut down completely.

Amid the latest surge of the Omicron variant across Europe, trade bodies called for emergency financial assistance for businesses that will be severely affected by the partial lockdown, which is due after Christmas in Northern Ireland and Wales.

The new rules are being imposed to curb social interactions, the primary medium for the spread of the Covid-19. Hospitality venues have been told to offer only table services from December 27 with no more than 6 people, or 10 people from a single household, allowed at one table. Nightclubs have also been ordered to shut 26th December onwards after 6:00 GMT. 

But several business groups have voiced their fears that these rules would bring about heavy losses in revenue and jobs. 

These restrictions were announced as Northern Ireland recorded its highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began at 3,231 new cases of the virus. 

Omicron, the fourth variant of the Coronavirus, which started wreaking havoc around the world in 2020, is currently the most dominant strain in Europe and is fast catching up around the world. 

In Northern Ireland, Omicron is supposed to make up almost 60% of new cases. 

The Stormont Executive had imposed these latest rules to try and curb the recent Omicron surge. 

Joe Dougan, an event promoter in Belfast, said that many staff would be out of work after Christmas with the inventory supply chain workforce also being affected. He also feared that these regulations would cause people to socialize in unregulated settings. 

Even before the decision, many names in the hospitality sector were already experiencing the oncoming effects with reduced bookings and footfall amidst the Omicron surge. 

Some restaurants already had to close due to less footfall. 

Albeit, most names in the hospitality industry called out for ‘urgent financial support to help them cut losses with the post-Christmas rules. 

The country’s first minister Paul Givan said that the business community was right to call out for support. He added that the Executive is developing a support package for the hospitality industry and nightclubs to save them heavy losses in income and manpower. 

But on Christmas eve, a £40m relief package was put together by the Executive to help hospitality businesses that would be massively affected by the new rules.

More than 3,200 hospitality businesses are eligible to receive grants between £10,000 and £20,000. The premises will be based as per their Net Annual Value (NAV), which is their current rental value. 

Premises with a NAV of £15,000 or below would receive up to£10,000, while those with a NAV between £15,001 to £51,000 will receive £15,000. All businesses with a NAV of over £51,000 are eligible to receive grants up to £20,000. 

Businesses in Northern Ireland that are eligible to receive these support packages include restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, cafes, coffee shops, bistros, and private member’s clubs. 

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also voiced their support for the hotel and leisure industries in terms of the loss that they would suffer, although they upheld the rules implemented by the Stormont Executive. 

Later on, the NI chief Colin Neill upheld the decision and said that the compensation would bring relief to business owners and staff alike who could ‘enjoy the holiday season with a sense of short-term security. He called for the money to be swiftly flown across to the hospitality industry ‘as quickly as possible.

However, there are concerns of further stringent rules after the New Year across the UK, which further cause businesses to shut down completely.

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