The Executive has announced a tighter set of restrictions which come into effect from Friday 16th October for a period of four weeks across Northern Ireland.
These increased restrictions will have a direct impact on many NI businesses. Some of the key measures include:
- People are urged to work from home where possible and only essential journeys should be made.
- The hospitality sector will effectively close, apart from deliveries and takeaways. The 11pm closing time remains in place and applies to fast-food/takeaway businesses too.
- No alcohol can be sold after 8pm.
- Close contact services like hairdressers have to close including mobile hairdressers and make-up artists who provide services in peoples’ homes.
- Gyms can remain open but only for individual training and no classes will be permitted.
- Schools will close for an extended mid-term break, closing from Monday 19th October 2020 to Monday 2nd November 2020.
To help businesses deal with the financial impact of these increased new restrictions, you may be entitled to avail of the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme. This scheme is available to businesses that have been required to close or had trade curtailed by the health protection restrictions. Support payments under the scheme will be paid every two weeks and the amount is linked to the Total Net Asset Value (NAV) of the property from which the business operates. Depending on the NAV, your payment will be paid at a lower, standard or higher rate.
The following financial supports are also available to businesses throughout the UK:
- Businesses that are legally required to shut as part of a lockdown anywhere in the UK can claim 67% of their staff’s wages through the Job Support Scheme from 1 November. Grants are capped at £2,100 per month, per employee.
- Until 1 November, employers in lockdown can furlough employees and claim 60% of wages from the Job Retention Scheme to a cap of £1,875 per month, topping up themselves to 80% to a cap of £2,500 per month.
- Employers must still pay National Insurance and pension contributions under the Job Support Scheme. Employees must not work for at least seven consecutive days to qualify for the grants.
This is a testing time for small business owners and our fully trained advisers are here to provide you with all the support you need whether it’s dealing with anxious staff or accessing government business supports.
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