Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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27. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment if a bespoke support package will be given to pubs and restaurants that have to close due to level 3 public health restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29960/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I am keenly highly aware that publicans and restauranteurs are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government will offer as much assistance and support as possible.

On 28th August 2020, the Government announced a further €16m support package to help pubs, bars and nightclubs, recognising the economic impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and to assist planning and adaptation for their re-opening. This package contained measures including:

- Restart Grant Plus 40% Top Up: Those businesses remaining closed and planning their re-opening can now receive a minimum of €5,600 and a maximum of €35,000 under the Restart Grant Plus. This can be used to help additional expense and adaptations associated with re-opening when the time comes.

- Waiver of court fees and associated excise and stamp duties relating to the renewal of pub and other liquor licences in 2020.

- Waiver of excise duty on on-trade liquor licences on renewal in 2020.

These measures have been implemented in addition to the existing Restart Grant Plus, Tourism Adaptation Fund, the wage subsidy scheme, commercial rates waiver, liquidity supports and tax measures (such as warehousing of tax debt and reduction in VAT).

The Restart Grant Plus provides direct grant aid to businesses with up to 250 employees to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures. Top-ups were previously made available for eligible businesses in Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Dublin and Donegal in respect of a further period of restrictions, for ‘wet’ pubs, bars and nightclubs nationwide that re-opened on 21 September, and for ‘wet’ pubs, bars and nightclubs in Dublin that remain closed.

Businesses in Dublin and Donegal were generally eligible for a grant top-up due to the restrictions imposed at that time. Donegal pubs remained partially open, so the pubs were entitled to an additional top-up in recognition of the restrictions imposed. Meanwhile, Dublin pubs that were forced to remain closed were entitled to a further enhanced top-up.

As the Deputy will be aware, on 6th October 2020 all parts of the country moved to Level Three of the Government’s Framework for Restrictive Measures for a period of three weeks.

I understand that these restrictions have a significant impact on businesses and employment around the country. In recognition of the impact of these restrictions on businesses, a 30% top-up to the Restart Plus grant is being provided to help support those affected through the three-week period. In addition, in recognising that Level 3 has been extended in Dublin and Donegal beyond the three-week period, businesses in these counties are eligible for a further top-up in addition to those made available in September. Businesses in the hospitality sector and other vulnerable sectors who have previously benefited from the Restart Grant are eligible to re-apply for this top-up.

These supports are supplementary to the wide range of existing loan and voucher schemes available to assist businesses affected by COVID-19 provided through the July Jobs Stimulus and other Government initiatives.

Further information on top-up payments and application forms for the Restart Grant Plus Scheme are available on the websites of all Local Authorities. The closing date for receipt of applications to the scheme has been extended to 31st October 2020 to ensure the scheme is accessible to as many businesses as possible.

All COVID-19 Business Schemes are under constant review in terms of the evolving situation and will be adapted as circumstances dictate. Today, Budget 2021 will include a number of proposals to further support workers and businessess. I can assure the Deputy that I will continue to work with my colleagues across Government and all stakeholders to examine how best to further assist businesses impacted by Covid-19 as part of Budget 2021 and the National Economic Plan.

Details of the wide range of COVID-19 supports available are noted on this Department’s website at


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